Feature flashback – Maria Stepanova profile (The Moscow Times)

Ed Odeven Reporting

Russian Teenage Star Looking to Shine in WNBA
02 July 1998
By Ed M. Odeven

PHOENIX, Arizona — Six-foot-8 Russian basketball phenomenon Maria Stepanova doesn’t just have extraordinary size. She has extraordinary aspirations, too.

The former CSKA center from St. Petersburg is excited by the opportunity she has been given after being chosen by the Phoenix Mercury as the No. 8 pick in the first round of the 1998 Women’s National Basketball Association draft.

But that’s not good enough. Stepanova wants to prove her worth to the defending WNBA Western Conference champions.

How? By giving “400 percent or more,” said the soft-spoken blond teenager in a recent interview.

Although that kind of exemplary effort would certainly be commendable, Stepanova’s play has already commanded the attention of her well-respected boss, the legendary Basketball Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller.

“It’s exciting to look out on the court and see someone so…

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