Bosnia & Herzegovina have raised eyebrows after two rounds of group action at EuroBasket Women.
Following an absence spanning two decades, they stepped on to the floor with a sole purpose of not just making up the numbers.
And as the tournament catches its breath before resuming on Sunday, the Bosnians will be aiming for a third straight win, when they face Slovenia.
But while little is known about the women’s national side, head coach Goran Lojo claims that the team’s exploits at home are well publicised.
“We have already been in the mainstream media ever since 2019, when we made that miracle in the qualifiers by winning against Russia in Orenburg and in front of 6,000 people,” Lojo said.
“Since then, women’s basketball and especially the national team has been very well covered in our country.
“Of course, this run of ours can now maybe give even more motivation to any other media who want to promote us and maybe it will be very important for the future development of women’s basketball in our country.”
The current team were mostly in kindergarten with one not even born when the Bosnians last played at a EuroBasket Women in 1997,
22 years on, and the new generation of Bosnia & Herzegovina, who are ranked 34 in the world have so far seen off the challenges of Belgium and Turkey, ranked sixth and seventh, respectively.
“I can officially say that for the first time in our history that Bosnia and Herzegovina will pass the group stage of the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket,” smiled Lojo.
“We have now shown everyone we can play the best teams. Belgium was the favourite for this group and we responded when we were tired, to beat Turkey.”
Point guard, Milica Deura, who scored 10 points in the opener against Belgium but struggled in the next game with Turkey, says that her have no intention of easing off the gas when they face their Balkan rivals, Slovenia on Sunday.
“It is the character, the chemistry and atmosphere we have in this team which is the most important thing,” she said.
“We fight and we never give up, plus even the bench is always at a high level in the way that they cheer us on and give energy. It is how we have done things ever since we came together as a group.
“I really believe in my team and while we are talking about how we will go to the next round of the competition for the first time in history, I feel that we are not done yet.”
Photo credit: FIBA