Serbia is often perceived as a basketball country. For the most part, we can thank men’s basketball and their club and representative successes for that vision. As a nation with an extremely high average height, it is somehow not surprising that many children, through the generations, decided to play this very sport. Those decisions were certainly supported by the availability of clubs in smaller cities, a very strong talent, but also the dedication of coaches and sports workers to the development and survival of this sport for many years.
Women’s basketball was stuck for a long time, because objectively, there were not many satisfactory results from their side. Maybe it was due to insufficient investment in women’s sports, maybe due to excessive forcing of male selections, but one thing is certain, there were quality players in all generations. However, for quite a long time, those individual qualities did not manage to fit into the team’s success, until coach Marina Maljkovic, the daughter of the world-famous coach Bozidar Maljkovic, came to the national team.
With her dedicated work, persistence and excellent understanding of the team dynamics of women’s teams, Marina managed to achieve something completely unexpected. From 2015-2021 she won 4 medals at major competitions with the Serbian national team. The rise began with the winning of the gold medal at the European Championship in 2015 in the era of Dabovic sisters, Sonja Petrovic (Vasic) and Jelena Milovanovic (Brooks). That team set a standard, which it successfully followed the next year at the Olympic Games in Rio, winning a bronze medal. Another medal came in 2019, bronze at the European Championship. With the retirement of Milica Dabovic, the lack of a good playmaker in the game began to be felt, so Marina managed to bring an American to the team, Yvonne Anderson. Yvonne stepped up where needed and the women’s basketball team in 2021 won gold again at the European Championship.
In the last two years, a generational change has been happening naturally. Now there are some younger and no less talented players whose time is yet to come, and with Marina’s leadership, it is not unrealistic to expect Serbia to win more medals on the world stage.