Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats have announced their first signing for the 2020 Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC) season and it is a major coup not only for the Cantabrians but for women’s basketball in New Zealand.
The club have revealed that Russian forward Marita Davydova will be returning to the Wildcats this year. Davydova is a class act on and off the court – her presence sure to make the Wildcats WBC title contenders once again.
Davydova has recently been playing in Spain but had little hesitation in resigning with the Wildcats.
“I can say that I really enjoyed my time in New Zealand, I loved your nature and still smile when I remember breath taking views of the ocean, mountains and fields. I also loved the food in New Zealand!
“But above all it is people who made my decision to return so easy. I got so much love from my teammates, their families, management and the Wildcats fans that I decided to come back.
“Also I really liked coaching the Canterbury U14 team. It was a new experience for me. I really enjoyed sharing my experience with the young players of Christchurch,” added Marita.
New Wildcats Head Coach Dene Robinson is naturally delighted with the signing.
“I have had only positive reports about Marita in terms of her leadership and performance on and off the court.
“Coming back for a repeat season gives us the advantage of Marita knowing the league and the players. It is a real bonus for me as a coach, and for the squad, to have an experienced professional player returning to the Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats in 2020,” Dene added.
Marita is looking forward to linking up with her teammates and coach Robinson.
“I have been in contact with Dene since December. He is very attentive and he is supportive of me even now, while I am playing in Spain.
“I have had a chance to work with coaches from four different continents and each of them taught me something so I really look forward to meeting him in person.”
The return of a quality international player like Davydova is not only a coup for the Wildcats but also the women’s game in New Zealand.
The former Russian U20 international has experience playing in the USA, Spain and Ecuador as well as her native Russia where she has played for four-times Euro League champions Sparta&K Vidnoe.
Davydova was named to the WBC All-Star Five in 2019 after posting a league high 14.9 rebounds per game in addition to a team high 15 points per game but was very modest when speaking about her achievements.
“Every personal award or achievement is always a pleasant thing for any sportsperson. But in team sport all that is really important is the award that the team gets. My goal for this season is to do my best to help Wildcats win the WBC. If by doing so I get selected for some individual award, it would be a nice bonus. But I will repeat that I dream to return home in July with a WBC gold medal,” said Marita.
Marita enjoyed the level of competition last season and also believes the Wildcats culture will stand them in good stead for another tilt at the WBC title they won in 2016 and 2017.
“We had so much fun together all the time. I felt like I am with my family, very easy, relaxed and enjoyable and a great team spirit. In addition the Wildcats organisation was great.
“The WBC was very competitive. We had a great start, but at the end of the season we were less lucky and finished fourth. We also missed some of our players due to injuries and international representation. I hope that this season we will be more successful at the end,” Marita added.
The 2020 New Zealand women’s league season begins in May. With pre-season training beginning on January 19ththe Wildcats are set to make further player announcements in the coming weeks.