26 September, 2017
22 April, 2018
Natalia Hejkova (ZVVZ USK Praha) (photo: Luděk Šipla)
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Final Four 2018 insight: Legendary play-caller Natalia Hejkova

SOPRON (EuroLeague Women) – When it comes to delivering EuroLeague Women titles at Final Four, nobody does it better than the legendary Natalia Hejkova who has five to her name.

FIBA.basketball caught up with the ZVVZ USK Praha head coach to get her thoughts on the forthcoming 2018 edition in Sopron.

Natalia Hejkova, in her own words: After making the previous four EuroLeague Women Final Four tournaments with ZVVZ USK Praha, this time I will have to be in another role – as a spectator in Sopron. Even if it will be strange not coaching, there will also be no pressure and I will be excited to just sit back and enjoy a very high level of women's basketball at the event. I really think this Final Four is going to be a lot of fun for all of us.

#EuroLeagueWomen is looking forward to seeing you all in Sopron in April 2018!

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Firstly, it is taking place in Sopron and this city is still very much in my heart. The city provided me with my first-ever coaching experience abroad and it was an unforgettable time and I have so many true friends there. I know that using their management of many past basketball events, this year's Final Four is destined to be a big success for the organizers. However, it is important to recognize the club is only able to show that it can put on a great event because of what the team did in their Quarter-Finals against Fenerbahce, when they did a very good job.

Looking towards the opening Semi-Final game between UMMC Ekaterinburg and Dynamo Kursk, these two former and current champions will play each other. One of these will of course win and then are likely to be the big favorites when they step out in the Final. So will it be UMMC or Kursk?

Well, we [ZVVZ USK Praha] have played them both this season, so I feel I am able to compare them. If Dynamo Kursk are able to play like they did during that first part of the Regular Season, then I think they will be the winners. For Ekaterinburg, they are showing that they are a different team in this new calendar year and I like the way they are playing now. The chance they gave us in the Play-Off Quarter-Finals was almost zero. Their win against Kursk recently in the Russian Premier League could also help them a lot.

The second Semi-Final is also very interesting and especially because the last time Sopron was at a Final Four was almost 10 years ago. I am most curious to see if home court will be a big help for them as hosts, or it will simply double the level of pressure on them. Meanwhile Yakin Dogu Universitesi have that valuable experience from winning last year's EuroCup Women Final, along with their first EuroLeague Women Regular Season.

The only prediction I am making is that the title game will feature one club who is a champion from the past against a club competing in its rookie Final.

Anyway, it will be another big women's basketball tournament and I am really looking forward to being there.