EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Evina Maltsi is on the 16-strong preliminary squad announced by new Greece coach Alekos Daglas |
Greece face a challenging summer as they try to get back to the EuroBasket Women when it is staged next year in France.
Stella Kaltsidou is recovering from a torn ACL and unavailable and coach Kostas Missas, who engineered some famous wins during his spells in charge, has gone.
Instead, veteran tactician Alekos Daglas is at the helm.
Daglas will be hoping that Evina Maltsi, a player who achieved legendary status when she was named the EuroBasket Women 2009 MVP in Latvia, can continue to provide inspirational play along with some of the others that have made the Greeks such a wonderful story the past few years.
The 33-year-old Maltsi is coming off a season in the EuroLeague Women in which she averaged 12.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Playing for CCC Polkowice, she made 34 of 95 (35.8%) attempts from behind the arc while logging 33.7 minutes per game.
Polkowice made it into the Second Round, and also reached the Polish PLKK Finals.
Other seasoned campaigners who have had prominent roles with Greece that have been named in the 16-strong preliminary squad are 34-year-old point guard Dimitra Kalentzou, 1.88m small forward Zoi Dimitrakou, 1.81m defensive juggernaut Olga Chatzinikolaou, 1.89m power forward Pelagia Papamichail and 1.85m forward Katerina Sotiriou.
Kalentzou has been a game-winner in the past for Greece.
She was recovering from injuries last year in Poland when Greece won just one of their three games.
Dimitrakou is a threat on the perimeter and Papamichail, while undersized at center, is combative.
The absence of Kaltsidou is not what Daglas will have wanted, though, in his first run as the national team coach.
On numerous occasions the last few years with Greece or Bourges, she has been terrific.
She went down with her knee injury during a practice in early March.
The Greeks have no other option but to try and win without her as they compete against Latvia, Luxembourg, Finland and Italy in Group E.
The first opponents are the Finns on 16 June in Maroussi, Athens.
Their first training session is on 9 May.
Greece preliminary squad: Dimitra Kalentzou, Olga Chatzinikolaou, Katerina Sotiriou, May Kotsopoulou, Iouliti Lymoura (Athinaikos), Zoi Dimitrakou (Bourges), Pelagia Papamichail (Panionios), Afroditi Kosma (Panathinaikos), Katerina Spatharou (Proteas), Anthoula Chatzigiakoumi (Florida Golf Coast), Artemis Spanou (Robert Morris College), Grigoria Pateraki (Lamar), Faidra Skiadopoulou, Nafsika Stayridou (Aris), Ioanna Diela (DASAL) and Evina Maltsi (CCC Polkowice).