Since Christophe published this great article on the women’s final four which already started (UMMC Ekaterinburg already lost a few minutes ago to Spartak Moscow Region 68-78) we sent a few questions to Hamchetou Maiga, who is one of the stars at Brno. Brno’s game against Bourges will tip off in about 45 minutes and can be followed LIVE on fibaeurope.com.
Here is what Hamchetou Maiga answered to Christophe’s TOUGH questions and we are very thankful, that Maiga answered our questions so fast. In the interview she even went in the interesting money question: Playing in Europe is not just about the money. Since I have met Maiga personally, I can confirm that this is not just said but true – at least for her, but read the whole interview and you will see yourself.
How do you see your chances of winning the Euroleague?
As any of the teams present here in the Final4, we have been working toward winning the title but we will first go game by game as our semifinals versus Bourges is the most important. After that we’ll see.
Who are the players to stop at the other teams in your opinion?
All the teams that made it thus far did it for a reason, which is team depth and quality; hence, there are great players out there. We know that we ought to respect each one. Our focus though will be primarily on ourselves.
Do you feel some pressure as Brno plays the final four at home? is the city really feeling the event?
Not exactly, (maybe a little bit J). Honestly though, it is awesome to be able to play in front of your home fans; so, if anything we’ll use it as a motivation. Here in Brno, the people love basketball and love their Gambrinus. They are very excited.
If you don’t win the Final Four, do you consider that as a big disappointment? Or do you feel that the supremacy of the Russian teams money-wise is too big to compete?
Considering the road we had to take to get to the Final 4, we are very happy to be here. Though, we are definitely not just content by making it to the F4. It will only be a disappointment if we do not play to our full potential because if we do and things still do not work out at least we would know deep down that we gave it our all.
What are the main differences between the WNBA and the Euroleague for you? Do you have a preference where to play? Or do you consider it just as a supplementary revenue source?
I have enjoyed both the WNBA and the Euroleague. Well the biggest difference is the time frame, in the WNBA we play so many games in a 4 months span whereas the Euroleague games are more spread out. In the WNBA, we can play 3-5 games a week. Some of the rules in the two are quite different and the way the game is called by the referees is also different. Altogether though, both leagues are competitive and many players from the WNBA have been playing in the Euroleague too as it can be noticed almost 50% of the players at this F4 are either currently playing in the WNBA or have done it in the past.
Playing in Europe is not just about the money. If we were to just play in the WNBA that means we will be without competition for almost 8 months, which is definitely too long. So, it is a win-win situation for us as we get to play the sport that we love and still get paid for it because I can tell you that many of us would still play even if we were not getting one cent (it is definitely a bonus that we sure take advantage upon). It is grueling to go from one season to the other but it so much fun that for me as an African, since neither one is my home per se, I don’t have that opportunity to say that I will only play at home if I want to continue to play at the highest level. For that matter too, playing just in Europe in order to have the summer off a bit could be a great opportunity too (and our body would love that I bet J)
You played for ODU after being in Dakar. How did the American college recruit you in Senegal?
One of the coaches from Old Dominion University was at 1997 African Championship games in Kenya. She saw me play with my National team and offered me a scholarship.