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03.05.17 | Thriller in Kursk: it took 5 games to end the women basketball series

Experienced Olga Arteshina explained, why the 11-th Champion title was unique and extremely important

In took 5 games of the Premier League Final play-off series to define the strongest women basketball club of Russian of the ending season. Both in the EuroLeague Women and in the Russian Championship it was the competition between Dynamo Kursk and UMMC Ekaterinburg. In spite, that Dynamo had home court advantage in the Final game, the visitors were able to change the game upside down and win with 1-point advantage – 83:82. So far, Ural Foxes won the 11-th title. Experienced guard Olga Arteshina shared her emotions the day after the match.

- How many gold medals have you won, including the medal yesterday?

- My friends counted and said that it is my number 11 gold medal (3 with Samara, 8 with UMMC), while yesterday I wasn’t ready to answer and didn’t know for sure if it was the right number. Well, after a day of rest at home we still have a lot of work to do. It has been a long time since I participated in such long-lasting series! For now we are done, it was a thrilling competition full of emotions and drama. It was a true stress test for all of us.

- Olga, what is the best way to win? Feeling comfortable and calmly looking back, or the way you did tonight. Probably, you will always remember this thriller.

- I think that any professional knows that only the games as we had last night bring the highest degree of emotions and become a true confirmation of ones ambitions. Even yesterday, when we said good-bye to each other all of us had the same feelings that it was great and delightful. In our team, few players had this kind of experience before and could compare this Final to anything else. Now I am not even sure if the season is over or not. Once level of experience and skills are being tested in the matches when one point might bring you either victory or defeat. Kursk had the ball and they made 2 or 3 attacks that might have changed everything and leave us far behind. This extremely emotional feeling of the last seconds will stay with me for the rest of my life.

- If it was not the EuroLeague Women defeat…

- Yes, it is a great pity; we had a great European season. We fulfilled all tactical schemes and competed on a high level both in defense and offensive actions. We got the feeling of each other on court and were sure that the Semi-Final would not be an exception. We knew well how to fight against Fenerbahche. I can hardly find a reason why everything went wrong. It was a big frustration. I had experience of disappointing defeats in the past. However, this time we were sure in success and moved on well in the group round. The Turkish side had excellent players why were did not build strong basis and crashed down. So far, I am glad that we fulfilled all the goals competing in domestic tournament.

- It fills as if you are not completely satisfied…

- Yes. In the national Final series competing against Dynamo we once again had this uncertainty on court. We play one match performing on the highest level and mess up the second one. It is difficult to find any excuses for this kind of instability for the club of our level of competence.

- Nevertheless, in the most crucial moment you had Diana Taurasi who came up with her superpowers in the very end.

- Yes, we did. This game was made in the last 3-4 minutes. Our American teammate showed us the combination and she ended it with the ball down the opponent’s hoop! While we moved backward in order to work in defense in order to keep the advantage that she made. Diana is a fantastic player. She is talented, emotional and specific to be played against. I am glad that she competes on our side.

- For the last few years club achievements have much to do with the club’s management, is it right?

- -BC UMMC Director Maxim Ryabkov is a unique person. He is able to combine to absolutely different sports like women’s basketball and men’s hockey. As soon as Avtomobilist ended the season, he focused on us. We keep in touch and I can always call him in case of trouble and talk about the problem I have. Sometimes we go out for a walk and I hear him talking on the phone when he tries to find solutions for some minor troubles. I doubt that any other manager might payed any attention in the similar situation because it is not his business. Ryabkov pays close attention to everything. He is a great professional!

- What do you think about the overall level of the Championship?

- I would say that it has grown and became tougher. There were some doubts about Nadezhda Orenburg because as far as I knew they had some trouble and signed a new roster, but they were able to keep its game level even with new Russian girls. They were competitive and held their positions. This season was intense and we had minimum easy games when were able to win with big advantage. Vologda and Novosibirsk were also among the strong opponents.

- Can such a long season be helpful for the Russian national team in terms of getting ready for the Championship in Europe?

- Yes, In Russia we have one of the longest Championships, longer than any other competition in Europe. National team key players perform for UMMC and Dynamo. Other clubs also have a number of players that were active on court during the season, rather than spending time on the bench. The coaches invited all of them. They have wide practical experience. Now we have to show our character. I think our chances for success at EuroBasket 2017 are very high.

By: Dmitry Lyubimov
From: Moskovskiy Komsomolets

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