First EuroLeague Women head coach change for 2009-2010


TTT Riga 2009-2010  © Photo credit: www.tttriga.lv

TTT Riga have suffered three defeats in the EuroLeague Women. In addition they have not had the best run in the domestic competition either.

The club decided after four straight defeats that it would be better for Ainars Cukste to step down as head coach.

They have replaced him with Aigars Nereps who has been the assistant coach at the club since 2006.

Cukste took over the head coach position in 2002 and has led the club to six national titles. The club also plays in the Baltic Womens Basketball League (BWBL) and has also participated in the Lithuanian championship.

Cukste has also been the coach of the Latvian national team and in the summer of 2006 he led them through the EuroBasket 2007 qualifiers. He was a member of the national team coaching staff for EuroBasket 2007, the 2008 Olympic games and Eurobasket 2009.

However his biggest achievement internationally came with the youth teams as head coach. In 2006 and again in 2009 he won the bronze medal at the FIBA Europe U20 European Championship Women Division A.

Elina Babkina who is currently playing at Challes-les-Eaux in France was a member of both teams that won bronze.

Cukste remains at the club and coaches the junior team TTT Juniors and will next summer (2010) be responsible for the Latvian U16 women's team.

TTT Riga, not able to keep players from the junior programme

 TTT Cindy Lima  © Photo credit: www.tttriga.lv

Cindy Lima (left) is the big signing at the club this season. She is passing on her experience to the young players. However this is her first season playing in the EuroLeague Women.

The club also signed WNBA rookie Lyndra Littles (known as Lyndra Weaver as that is the name in her passport) who is in her first season in Europe.

The club recently decided to sign a second American Lisa Willis.

TTT Riga's strength is in their youth programme and again this season they lost players who are now either playing in the NCAA or NCJAA in America.

TTT and other clubs from Latvia have a total of 27 players at the moment in schools in America.

Anete Steinberga who was the MVP in 2006 during the U16 FIBA Europe European Championship for women is just one of the players that has left the junior programme for America at the end of last season.

From January 2010 she will be in action for the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) in the NCAA.

The only player on the current roster that has any experience in playing EuroLeague Women basketball is Aija Brumermane who has just turned 23.

 Aija Brumermane, Kristine Karklina and Anda Eibele  © Photo credit: www.tttriga.lv

Dita Krumberga who is in her first season of the club and is a Latvian international has only played EuroCup Women.

She left Latvian Champions SK Cesis to come to TTT, along with Kristine Karklina and Anda Eibele.

Karklina spent six years in France studying and playing for Stade Poitevin (NF2).

When TTT returned to intercontinental competition in 2007 after a five-year absence they lost all six games in the EuroCup.

In 2008 they qualified for the EuroLeague and won three games. Last season they also qualified and won three games (they were awarded a victory against CSKA Moscow). However they have never qualified for the play-offs.

TTT Riga were drawn in Group A alongside EuroLeague giants Ros Casares and UMMC Ekaterinburg.

They also have to face the two teams that played in the 2009 EuroCup Women final Galatasaray and Cras Basket. The last member of the group is TEO Vilnius who are their next opponents.

TTT Riga, under the name of Daugava Riga until 1992, had won the European Cup for Women 18 times.


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picture credits:

www.tttriga.lv

Date created: 17 November 2009

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