Ten players chasing their FIBA Women's EuroBasket debut
MUNICH (Germany) - With just over a year to go until the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021, there are a number of highly talented players who are yet to get the thrill of stepping out at the Final Round.
With the Qualifiers still to be completed, here are just some of the players who are eyeing up a debut at next year's showpiece event.
Ivana DOJKIC - Croatia
Birth Date: December 24, 1997
Height: 1.80m (5ft 11in)
Renowned as one of the best players and scorers in EuroCup Women where she's been sensational of late for KSC Szekszard, Dojkic is now a leading light for Croatia. They are riding high and in a great position in Group I, where they sit in pole position at 2-0. If the guard can continue her rich vein of form, she could propel Croatia back to their first Final Round since 2015 and she will get to make her maiden appearance and get to star on the kind of stage that her prolific offensive skills deserve.
Alysha CLARK - Israel
Birth Date: July 7, 1987
Height: 1.81m (5ft 11in)
She missed the first game of the current Qualifiers which was a big blow for Israel as they lost to Sweden, but if they get their outstanding naturalized option back on board, then they might have a chance of a long overdue return to the Final Round. They have not featured since Poland in 2011, so will need the quality and do-it-all skills of a EuroLeague Women and WNBA standout like Clark.
Pinelopi PAVLOPOULOU - Greece
Birth Date: March 3, 1996
Height: 1.72m (5ft 8in)
With the legendary Evanthia Maltsi and other top level performers like Syliani Kaltsidou having passed on the baton to the next generation, Greek fans will be hoping Pavlopoulou can pick up those reins to ensure her country is back at the top table in 2021. After missing out on the 2019 edition of Final Round, Greece are currently 1-1 in Group A, with their fate hanging in the balance. That is why they need the guard to continue showing her talent, having also proven her ability to produce in EuroLeague and EuroCup Women with Olympiacos.
Emese HOF - Netherlands
Birth Date: May 29, 1996
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)
Always a towering and imposing figure throughout her prestigious youth career, it's now at the senior level that Hof is trying to make an impact. Having graduated from the University of Miami last year en-route to securing EuroCup Women experience with Perfumerias Avenida, the center has helped Netherlands move to 1-1 in a ' Group of Death' with the Slovak Republic and Hungary. The Dutch have never appeared at the Final Round in more than 30 years, so that gives an extra motivation for Hof inspiring her nation to end one of the longest waits around!
Marica GAJIC - Bosnia and Herzegovina
Birth Date: April 27, 1995
Height: 1.85m (6ft 1in)
For several years, Gajic has rightly been considered as one of the best players to have not yet stepped out at the Final Round. Now Bosnia and Herzegovina could be a step away from making their first ever appearance at the event, having taken a stunning road win in Russia which has left them with a commanding 2-0 record in Group C. A scoring and rebounding power who has racked up some huge numbers in both a Bosnia and Herzegovina vest, as well as in EuroLeague and EuroCup Women, Gajic could be about to realize one of her basketball dreams.
Satou SABALLY - Germany
Birth Date: April 25, 1998
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)
Recently selected by the Dallas Wings as the second pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, the value of Sabally to Germany is immense, now that she has completed her impressive NCAA career with Oregon. Her performances with the Ducks have underlined just how much she brings to the table and that athleticism, combined with her ability to score in so many ways was evident when she dropped a spectacular 33 points for Germany in the last window against Croatia. Germany are 1-1 in Group I, so can still dream of a first return to the Final Round since 2011. If they make it, Sabally would be a major draw for fans in France and Spain next year.
Billie MASSEY - Belgium
Birth Date: March 21, 2000
Height: 1.88m (6ft 2in)
Having missed out last summer on the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019, Massey has since eased her way into contention by appearing in the FIBA Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament back in February. After a scorching season for Basket Hema SKW in EuroCup Women, which came off the back of her amazing tournament at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup where she made the All-Star Five, the powerful center looks poised to make a real breakthrough into the Belgian frontcourt rotation. Competition is intense in this respect, but her rebounding capacity in particular is stunning and she surely is lined up for a possible Final Round debut. Belgium are currently sat 2-0 in Group G.
Jonquel JONES - Bosnia and Herzegovina
Birth Date: January 5, 1994
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)
It proved to be a real coup for Bosnia and Herzegovina when they were able to successfully naturalize a global figure like Jones and the WNBA star wasted little time in making a massive impact. She was tremendous as they stunned everyone with their victory in Russia and they're currently in a great place to wrap up a first Final Round appearance. If they are successful, they might just be able to make a major splash with someone like the powerful Jones on board and she will potentially be one of the biggest and best players to watch at the 2021 event.
Marie GUELICH - Germany
Birth Date: May 28, 1994
Height: 1.94m (6ft 4in)
With her national team colleague Sabally leading the way, the presence of Guelich gives Germany and awesome one-two punch that could be the combo needed to book their return to the Final Round. The center has played for both Phoenix and Atlanta in the WNBA during her first couple of seasons as a pro, while posting a solid first Regular Season in EuroLeague Women with Arka Gdynia, which built on her nice work in EuroCup Women with Reyer Venezia in her rookie pro year back in Europe. Strong and efficient, Guelich is a rock on which Germany can continue to build their challenge and should they punch their ticket, she will be a tough defensive assignment at Final Round.
Juste JOCYTE - Lithuania
Birth Date: November 19, 2005
Height: 1.84m (6ft 0in)
The stellar rising star has already made history when she stepped out in the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers against Albania last year to become the youngest ever player to represent Lithuania at the senior level. If her country can secure a return to the Final Round, and if subsequently selected, Jocyte could feasibly play at the event at just 14-years-old.
It's no wonder she is being described as the future of women's basketball for her country and has been improving her game with LDLC ASVEL Feminin under the watchful eye of Tony Parker, where she also became the youngest debutant in EuroLeague Women history. As things stand, Lithuania are currently 1-1 in Group E.