There are only four unbeaten teams left in Euroleague, one of which is ours. It's not going to be easy to keep it up, but on Thursday in Girona we will look to be able to say that about ourselves after the game, too.
The Spanish champions knocked solid participants Salamanca out of the saddle in Euroleague because they only got one spot. That caused a lot of trouble in Salamanca as well, where they thought they would have deserved a spot in the qualification round. However, based on the Spanish clubs' performances in recent years they didn't get that option. For a long time Girona were also crunching the numbers, but eventually they took the opportunity to compete in the most prestigious European competition in which they have played before, but didn't make much of an impact.
There was also a lot of player movement at the club. Practically half of the team has moved to a different place. Looking at the list of names on the arrival side, however, we cannot state that they got weaker, even though they signed Sonja Petrovic knowing that she was about to have a surgery done. They trusted her anyway, and we can be sure that her return will be a great addition to the team. Until that time, however, they have to get on without her. Let's see who they have to do that!
From last year's core we have to highlight Laia Palau and Nuria Martinez. Both are world class players with a lot of experience, but the latter is currently on the injured list. On the other hand, 25-year-old American Brittney Sykes is of great value for them, because she still has a great potential to improve. Sticking with the international players let's continue with Naignouma Coulibaly, who proved to be a tough opponent when laying for DVTK here in Hungary. Serbian Tijana Ajdukovic has played for our club before. Experienced players are Adaora Elonu from Nigeria and French talent Magali Mendy. The latter has brought some real outstanding stat numbers in recent weeks. In order to strengthen the Spanish core they lured Maria Araujo back home from Poland.
For now the absence of the injured is not visible on their game. They collected the Super Cup, and kicked off Euroleague on the positive side. We can say that even though they have left Fenerbahce and Lyon's court on the losing side.They could especially build on the 4-point loss from Turkey.
They have their home court debut on Thursday which will for sure give them extra energy. The fans in Girona will also help them, but if we can deliver the performance that has characterized our team so far then we will be able to leave the court with smiles on our faces on Thursday as well!
Before the game we asked Briann January about her expectations.
The game can be followed from 8.15 pm via live online statistics on the Euroleague website, and via live video streaming at the FIBA YouTube channel.