17 - 27
June 2021
7 Maria Vadeeva (RUS), RUS vs SWE
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Vadeeva tired of losing and ready to get Russia back on the global stage

STRASBOURG (France) - Ever since she debuted at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket back in 2015 as a wonderkid, Maria Vadeeva has carried a weight of responsibility on her shoulders.

She was just 16 years old at that time and yet still led Russia in field goal percentage, as well as being the second-highest scorer on her team.

Since then, she's been crowned a multiple EuroLeague Women champion with Dynamo Kursk and UMMC Ekaterinburg respectively, competed Stateside in the WNBA and was famously crowned MVP when winning gold at  the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup.


However, team success has not yet materialized when wearing a Russia jersey at the senior level, with Vadeeva still waiting for a chance to show her immense strength and skills on a global stage.

Her patience is understandably wearing thin. In fact, you have to rewind all the way to the 2012 Olympics for the last time Russia were able to showcase themselves outside of the Continental level.

With the lure of a ticket to the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifiers via a top six spot in Valencia, the opportunity to re-establish themselves is not lost on Vadeeva. Indeed she was brutally honest about the disappointment of being involved so far in a 6th-, 9th- and 8th-place finish it the past three editions.

"This is my fourth FIBA Women's EuroBasket already," she mused.

"However, it has not always been the best experience for me results-wise and I think now is the time to make it more positive.

"We are tired of losing and really hopeful to make a difference this year and to start winning," she added.

 Vadeeva took Russia to the Quarter-Finals two years ago but wants even better this time around

Interestingly, if Russia do manage to climb the ladder once more and take a stride towards the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, they will probably owe gratitude to the academy of former four-time EuroLeague Women champion, Sparta&K M.R Vidnoje.

Vadeeva and half the current Russia roster  have passed through the club's system and without that having been in place, the fall from the top table at the world level may have been more painful.

Now the center and other players from Sparta&K's past and present, including the likes of Raisa Musina, Kamilla Oguna and Daria Kurilchuk who are all 23 years old or younger, can help to re-establish standards again.

"The difference, or at least I hope the difference will be that we have a lot of young talent here," added Vadeeva, clearly determined to set the tone for the next decade after such a lean nine years.

Vadeeva was at Sparta&K M.R Vidnoje when she made a splash on debut at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket in 2015

"We have a good team and a good group of girls. We are ready to show what Team Russia can be like," she insisted.

Meanwhile, with Vadeeva issuing a rallying call and putting faith in her fellow young guns to get the job done, a return to prominence is also on the radar of head coach Alexander Kovalev.

He stated: "I was a member of the staff on the Russia team that finished fourth at the London Games and of course I remember clearly how it was.

"We are now ready to try and fight to reach the global stage again. We will do our best to finish in the top six and then to make a good result in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments," concluded the play-caller.