Best newcomer: Louise Burgaard
During the WCh, I made this video for Burgaard. I was actually of the opinion she should have been on the All-Star team instead of her teammate Line Jorgensen. She made a dazzling debut on the NT and will certainly continue in that direction. I expect her to become a rock of the Danish team.
Her results at youth level are not the point of this presentation. It is her WCh debut that I will analyse in detail. She scored 24/36; 67%, in nine matches. For a newcomer, she received enough playing time to show her abilities: ~30min per match. She was almost flawless in one-on-one situations. On the 9m, she was excellent with 14/24; 58%, the most efficient Danish back court player. Under these circumstances, her 1.5 TO/TF per match were not very costly. At the OQT and at the OG she was assigned to the right wing position and was not as dominant in the game. Even so, her scoring efficiency remained at a high level.
Honourable mention: Ryu Eun Hee
Most improved player: Alexandra Lacrabère
At 24, Lacrabère emerged in Brazil as a constant achiever of the French team. Not only did she score regularly (France’s second best scorer after nine games), but she was also the playmaker of the team towards the end of the tournament (credited for 24 assists). An in-depth look at the aspects of her game shows she has improved her defence skills and gained a new role in her team. At the WCh, she spent more time in defence and had more successful interventions, namely 5 steals (compared to one at the 2010 ECh). Her new position, that of playmaker, brought her higher overall success rates – she was 15/20 from the 6m line. Previously, she had not been used in such game combinations – 1/1 in 2010. In the semi-final against Denmark, her leading personality kicked in and led the way to victory (10 goals from 13 attempts). Areas where she did not make notable progress in are her 9m shooting (4/25 in 2010 to 7/28 in 2011 to 10/30 at the Olympics) and break through attempts.
Back home, she won the National Championship with her club team, Arvor 29 Pays de Brest and was awarded best right back player of the league, best scorer with 125 goals and second best assistant with 32. The end of her season was not as successful, as France failed to medal in London. Lacrabère will be expected to lift Zvezda’s level and carry them to the Main Round of the Champions League.
Best veteran: Miranda Tatari
At 29, Tatari is among the most respected players of her generation, having dedicated her club career to her hometown, Koprivnica, and having managed at the same time to take her national team to new peaks. This generation marks the transition between Former Yugoslavia and modern day Croatia. The players have trained in a different system and have had the chance to travel around Europe in search of better jobs. Tatari chose to settle in Koprivnica.
It was a very busy year for the Croatian “combat general”. It started with a disputed ChL group, from which Podravka failed to qualify. However, the club did progress along the way, with close results and an inspiring last match in front of their home crowd – not enough to get them into the European Spring. Tatari was Podravka’s 2nd best scorer.
In Brazil, the team obtained its best result since 1997, placing 7th. Coach Vladimir Canjuga travelled to London with the hope of a medal, but Croatia couldn’t secure a semifinal berth in a close encounter. In all of these championships, Tatari was the main factor of stability and boldness: best assist player with 28 in nine matches in Brazil and 17 in six matches in London. At the Olympics, she was her country’s second best scorer (24/38; 63%).
Honourable mention: Alexandra Do Nascimento
Best OG performance: Katarina Bulatović
The top scorer of the Games (53/93; 57%) was also a prolific assistant, having placed 5th in the ranking. She was Montenegro’s best achiever in every victory (except for the one against team GB) and the most efficient player in the final game (10 goals). This is Bulatović’s first confirmation in a final tournament and that is why she is expected to carry on in Serbia and lead her teammates to another success.
She had a 100% success rate from the 6m line (5/5) and a 95% success rate from the 7m line (19/20). I would add that some of the penalties she scored were at crucial moments in the game (e.g. the last penalty against France or the 5/5 against Norway). She made amends for her 43% successful 9m shots throughout the tournament, when she shone in the final with a 57% success rate display. Bulatović did not spend as much time in defence as she did in Budućnost. As a result, her numbers are rather insignificant: only 3 two-minute suspensions, 2 steals and 4 blocked shots.
Best WCh performance: Andrea Penezić
The 3rd top scorer was also the most efficient back court player of the championship with 49 goals (only 2 penalties) and a 64% success rate. There was no doubt about her belonging on the All-Star team. Her performance in defence was as impressive, with 15 blocked shots (2nd overall), 5 steals and 5 two-minute suspensions. She was on court 50min per match, which makes her Croatia’s more valuable player and the 2nd most utilized player in the tournament, after K.L. Haraldsen. In the key match against Romania, Penezić delivered a sharp performance with a 6/8.