Papova Out To Propel Belarus Again

13 June 2014
13. Maryia Papova (Belarus)
 Maryia Papova led Belarus in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks at U20 Women in 2013

One of the main protagonists at the U20 European Championship Women in 2013 was Belarus star Maryia Papova and the forward is out to make a splash once again at this year's edition in Udine.

The Bobruisk native was the driving force behind Belarus reaching the cusp of an historic medal in Samsun last year, before eventually falling just short with losses in both the semi-final and bronze medal game.

Papova was outstanding and incredibly topped her team chart in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

She certainly demonstrated why she had been handed a ticket for EuroBasket Women 2013 by senior women's head coach, Rimantas Grigas.

With a first major tournament behind her at the senior level and having played in EuroCup Women last year in Belgium with Namur, Papova is hoping she can retain her place and make it to the FIBA World Championship for Women in September.

But before even thinking about lining up in Istanbul, she must focus on trying to spearhead the challenge of what will be her goodbye campaign to youth basketball.

Despite the obvious importance of Papova to Belarus' hopes, they are far from being a one-woman team.

Many of those who played last year at the event were 1994 born and like Papova, once again eligible to appear this season. Rising star Viyaleta Kiuliak is also back and she was only born in 1996 making the outlook particularly bright.

Belarus also highlighted this by taking back-to-back wins in preparation against Lithuania. They overcome their rivals 63-52 after 16 points from Papova and a double-double of 10 points and as many rebounds from Yauheniya Stsiapanava.

During the first meeting against their neighbours in Druskininkai, Belarus collected a 65-55 success with Popova amassing a dazzling 24 points.

Belarus will play in Group D against Italy, Netherlands and Poland.



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