09 - 17
July 2016
8 Digna Strautmane (LAT)
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Age nothing but a number for Strautmane

MATOSINHOS (FIBA U20 European Championship Women 2016) – Being one of the most productive players in Matosinhos is all that matters for Latvia ace Digna Strautmane, not the fact that she is one of the youngest participants in the tournament.

The 17-year-old has taken the FIBA U20 European Championship Women 2016 by storm and alongside her older sister Paula, the pair have been the twin turbos behind a run to the Quarter-Finals and the successful retention of Latvia's Division A status for another year.

Strautmane leads her nation in scoring with more than 15 points per game and has also been her nation’s most efficient performer, while her sibling is leading the way in rebounds and assists after coming back from the NCAA to play.

"Paula has been doing great out there and you can see she is fighting on the court. We have been supporting her in the United States from Latvia and now that she's with us, we are playing together which is great," enthused Strautmane ahead of Friday’s clash with Italy.

"The win against Slovak Republic in the Round of 16 was the most important one for us, because we came to this championship to win this game and we achieved our goal.

"As for my age, I just try to feel like everyone is my age. I just defend against other players and play offence against them like I would anyone else.

Latvia have also benefitted from the influential contributions of Paula Strautmane 

"Basketball players don’t look at their age. You can be younger, you can be older but you just have to play against them, there is no choice.

She continued, "I am just enjoying playing with them and learning life lessons. Of course the first games are always stressful, but once you get past these emotions you can't be nervous any longer - you just go play and do what you do."

What Strautmane is doing in Matosinhos is certainly very impressive. Her confidence is also drawn from having dipped her toe into EuroCup Women waters last year with the legendary TTT Riga.

She stated, "I still have everything in front of me when it comes to competitions like EuroCup Women.

"I didn't play that much, but of course I got the experience from being in that environment.

"The girls I was playing with were so good and I was just learning from them."

Whatever happens in the coming days, Strautmane won’t have long to reflect on her accomplishments. She is going to have to hot foot it across to Sopron to help spearhead Latvia’s challenge at the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship 2016.

It promises to be hectic, although Strautmane is relishing the opportunity to continue her rich vein of form and is adamant that Latvia can compete well.

She confirmed, "I know the girls well and also my club coach is there and so I know his style of play.

"The U18 girls already feel like I am part of the team and they know I am supporting them from here too in their preparation.

"Meanwhile there are an additional two girls here in Laura (Grabe) and Dinija (Pavelsone) and I know the girls all fully understand that we have to be here too.

"Additionally, there are also players coming in from the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship in Zaragoza, so we are coming in from everywhere.

"Of course Latvia fought hard in that Championship too and soon we will be going to Sopron and looking to go as high as we possibly can."