16 - 25
June 2017
19 Taisiia Udodenko (UKR)
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Motherhood making Udodenko into an unlikely MVP candidate

HRADEC KRALOVE (FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017) – The mere mention of being an MVP candidate at FIBA EuroBasket Women 2017 is enough to turn the face of Taisiia Udodenko into the perfect picture of surprise.

After all, her Ukraine teammate in the shape of the phenomenally talented Alina Iagupova is down on the script for such things – not someone who is making a belated debut at the Final Round at the age of 28 and has just completed her first club season after returning from maternity leave.

Yet, Udodenko is turning heads in a big way with her wonderfully aggressive approach, her tireless work ethic in every department and some hugely productive numbers that are way beyond expectations for the close-knit Ukrainian team.


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She has made such an impact so far, that whenever she steps off the hardwood, Ukraine seem to drop a gear. So, what is the secret behind her making such a splash – one that has harvested a tournament double-double of 17.7 points and 10.3 boards per game?

"Even now, at this stage, I feel so nervous and surprised about any talk about being a possible MVP," said the forward.

"After coming back to the game and playing at my first ever EuroBasket Women tournament, I just want to show what I can do. My goal is only to go as far as I can and hope nothing will stop me.

"My daughter has just turned 18 months old and so I am doing everything on the floor for her as well as for Ukraine.

"Having a child has helped me play smarter basketball, since before I became a mother, I used to run a lot with a very hot-head.

She continued: "Now I am more mature, calmer and focused on things. However deep inside, I think my childish ways from before are still probably there. But, now I get to use those playing with my daughter away from the basketball court."

Udodenko can also draw positive energy from the fact that she made her playing return on Czech soil last season – suiting up with Basketball Nymburk.

She revealed: "It is more comfortable to be at a first tournament like FIBA EuroBasket Women when you are in a familiar country and you recognize things like the language and the people.

"I also have a lot of friends in the country and I think it is another reason, along with having had my daughter, that many things have clicked into place for me so far.

Сьогодні наші дівчата мали чудову підтримку шостого гравця! Дякуємо! 🇺🇦👌 #eurobasketwoman2017 #FBU #ФБУ

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"I think it is also very important that I also point to the great support we had not only from Ukrainian fans, but also the local Czech schools in Hradec Kralove who chose to adopt us as a team.

"The support they gave us was absolutely amazing and it was fun seeing so many children watching and enjoying us play and that is now something which is more important than ever for me."

Udodenko and Ukraine are now one win away from making Thursday’s Quarter-Finals in Prague.