Five-Cup Team – Sport – Kommersant

The final match of the Russian Basketball Cup among women’s teams took place on Saturday. Dynamo Kursk and Nika Syktyvkar fought for the trophy. The game, contrary to the forecasts, according to which Dynamo should have won an easy victory, since Nika due to injuries was able to bring only seven basketball players to Kursk, turned out to be extremely tense. Dynamo had to try hard to achieve the victory with a score of 65:61. This is the fifth triumph in the Russian Cup for the Kursk team.

This season, the Russian Basketball Federation (RBF) has decided to return to the full format of the Russian Cup. Recall that in 2020, due to pandemic restrictions, the RBF adjusted the scheme so that the entire tournament was kept within three weeks.

As in the previous year, the leader of Russian basketball, UMMC, decided to save the main squad for the Premier League and Euroleague matches and put up a second team in the Russian Cup. There is, however, one more moment that prompted the management of UMMC to de facto refuse to participate in the Russian Cup. RFB, trying to give more chances to declare itself to Russian basketball players, prohibits legionnaires from playing in cup competitions. And the backbone of UMMC is made up of foreign basketball players. So, with all the desire to play with the strongest line-up, neither UMMC, nor the same Dynamo Kursk would have been able to play.

In the absence of UMMC, the answer to the question as to which teams will reach the final was half known. One place with the highest degree of probability could be booked behind Dynamo Kursk. There were a lot more questions about the second. In the final, both MBA, Sparta & K and Nika could have played against Dynamo. The Syktyvkar team turned out to be more successful. In the quarterfinals “Nika” was stronger than the MBA, in the semifinals they beat “Sparta & K” and for the first time in its history reached the final of the Cup of Russia. For Dynamo, we note that it was already the eighth final in a row. In four cases the Kursk team won decisive matches.

Dynamo were the favorites of the final. Moreover, the unconditional favorite, two hundred percent.

The point here is not so much the strength of the Kursk team, which, moreover, played at home, but the fact that Nika arrived at the match in a state that was incompatible with real claims to success. The head coach of “Nika” Alexander Vasin managed to bring only seven basketball players to Kursk. The team is plagued by injuries that have affected the leaders. Such as the playmaker of the Russian national team Ekaterina Fedorenkova (she is still recovering from the damage sustained at Eurobasket 2021) or Alexandra Marchenkova. But in fact, Vasin had to do not even with his family, but with six players (Daria Prosolupova entered the court only at the very end, when, due to too many fouls, the guests simply ran out of basketball players). And this is against a fully equipped enemy.

However, despite the twofold advantage, Dynamo had to make every effort to break Nika’s resistance. All of Dynamo’s attempts to create a solid lead, which would psychologically put pressure on their rivals, gave nothing. At the same time, one cannot say that Dynamo underestimated the opponent. On the contrary, Olga Frolkina (she has 16 points – the best result in Dynamo), Epiphania Prince, Natalya Anoikina, as well as other basketball players of the hosts, worked with full dedication. But she was not enough to break “Nika”, in which Raisa Musina caught her game. In the first half alone, the leader of the Russian national team made almost a dozen rebounds. And in many respects it was her merit in the fact that “Nika” left for the big break, lagging behind the opponent by only three points. Well, looking ahead, I must say that she was the best on the site. She finished the match with 18 points and 17 rebounds, for which she received the title of MVP of the meeting.

However, it was clear that even with unprecedented dedication to win the match, speaking with six, is almost impossible. After all, sooner or later the elimination of Nika’s basketball players was to begin due to the overload of fouls. Despite the fact that the guests tried to play accurately, it began. But even here “Nika” snapped. Alexander Vasin managed to keep the team in good shape, and she even gave jerks 8: 0, still not letting Dynamo go into the lead. And this desperate pursuit continued until the very end. By the way, he might not have happened with the end of the fourth ten minutes. “Nika” had chances to drag the game into overtime. With 11 seconds left, Dynamo were leading with an advantage of only two points. But the hostesses disposed of this advantage carefully. And they even strengthened it, having won with a score of 65:61. Thus, Dynamo won the Russian Cup for the fifth time in its history. UMMC is the leader in this indicator, with nine titles on its account.

Arnold Kabanov

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