Slovak champions Good Angels Kosice are one of the few teams that has been able to get the most bang for their buck over the past few seasons.
Despite not being able to sign the likes of Angel McCoughtry and Candice Dupree, who have played for the team a couple of years ago, Kosice posted what was very likely their best ELW season. They finished regular season with a 9-5 record which included sweep of season series against ELW finalists Rivas Ecopolis. Good Angels turned out too good for their own good – a win against BLMA in the final rounds pitted them against UMMC in the playoffs where their season finished in two games. That win cost head coach Stefan Svitek his job. Domestically Kosice is one of those central European country league’s which is dominated by one or, in a good year, two teams.
Even if Kosice tends to get most for their money, they do make mistakes, namely Kayla Pedersen and Iveta Salkauske last season. Pedersen had a reputation at the college level of being good at many elements of the game, she was considered versatile, while that so far has not translated in to being good at the pro level.
Key re-signing for the team is that of their point guard Miljana Bojovic. While there can be made arguments about Liron Cohen and Zuzana Zirkova, Bojovic’s 2012 season with Kosice was the best by a point guard in team’s history. Whether that was a fluke or if she is finally maturing as a point guard is yet to be seen. Other notable returnee for Kosice is Slovak forward Lucia Kupcikova who was the team’s third leading scorer last season. Kupcikova has her flaws, namely 3p shooting where she’s a career 20% shooter with 1 attempt per game, but she’s one of the better Slovak players nowadays and the team has to have local players.
With Danielle McCray, Erin Lawless, Natalia Vieru, Anna Jurcenkova moving on there were plenty of holes to fill for Kosice.
Three most important signings for the team to fill those holes were Tijana Krivacevic, Allie Quigley and Petra Kulichova. Krivacevic had a disappointing season in 2012 after a breakout in 2011. Much of that had to do with her playing alongside Zane Tamane in 2011 who drew much of the attention of opponents inside leaving her more open, compared to last season when she was the inside punch for Sopron alongside Sara Krnjic. This season Krivacevic again gets to play with a higher level post player in experienced Czech NT member Petra Kulichova. Kulichova had her career season with Brno in 2010 before she moved to Prague where she became a bench player with a deteriorating time on the court. Quigley is the prime candidate to replace McCray as the team’s top scorer. In her seasons with Pecs she showed that she’s a good scoring guard for European level. Now that she’s obtained Hungarian passport her value, particularly with teams participating in FIBA Europe international competitions has obviously risen.
Riquna Williams on the other hand appears to be just another volume shooter without any particular standout rebounding or defensive abilities. Helena Sverrisdottir’s season could show if she’s adapting to EuroLeague Women basketball or whether she was just one of those European standouts in college basketball.
Overall this team could put up a fight with Famila Schio for the third place in Group B, but you need to wear some rose-colored glasses to see them qualifying for the Final Eight.