Last season Polkowice ousted Tarbes and Sopron in order to advance to the playoffs where they were swept by Ros Casares. Their season also featured some unlikely wins against Perfumerias Avenida and Famila Schio. Domestically Polkowice narrowly got in the finals where they were swept by Wisla Can-Pack.
The offseason saw them replace most of their top players. Of the team leaders only Sharnee Zoll, Valeriya Musina and Agnieszka Majewska are returning. Zoll will not be available in 2012 after she tore her ACL in the Los Angeles Sparks training camp. While she is expected to be back around January or February, one has to realize that it’s a major knee surgery and a lot of down time for her. She will have to play catch-up with everything while the season will be in full swing – something that’s hard to do, as was evidenced by the slow mid-season comeback by Agnieska Bibrzycka. It appears that Musina was on a multi-year contract with the team, because re-signing her doesn’t make much sense – she showed herself off in 2011/12 as a guard who can’t shoot, can’t distribute the ball and isn’t a defensive stopper either.
After Zoll’s injury in the USA, Polkowice lucked out as Ros Casares went bankrupt and one of the top European point guards, Laia Palau, became available. With her inked, there’s not much need for Polkowice to rush Zoll back this season. Palau offers similar distribution and scoring abilities while being a better player on the defensive end. Belinda Snell brings to the team much the same of what Evanthia Maltsi took with her – a past her prime player who is considered a shooter while being average in making the shots part. Ivana Jalcova is a nice player to have coming off the bench but don’t be surprised if she’s starting alongside Palau in place of Musina sooner rather than later. If this team was seriously looking at a place in the Final Eight, another European guard/small forward would be a must.
The biggest signing for Polkowice wasn’t that of Palau – it was Nneka Ogwumike. Ogwumike brings a rare level of athleticism which can be rivaled only by Rebbekah Brunson, she’s an excellent finisher around the hoop, while she also has some face-up game. She is a vast improvement over any of the four post players Polkowice had last season – Perovanovic, Frazee, Petrontyte, Lavender. Joining her inside will be Valeriya Berezhynska who had a solid showing in her only season in ELW with Mondeville. Back then one of her major issues was her being turnover prone. That number for her steadily decreased over the past four seasons which she spent in France – from 3.1 in 2009 to 1.9 last season. Other two post players are Magdalena Leciejewska and Agnieszka Majewska. Overall this post rotation ranks in the top half of the league.
Polkowice will not finish in the top three of group C, but they could give Perfumerias Avenida a fight for the fourth place, but it either way will not be enough for them to avoid one of the contenders in playoffs for the place in F8.