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Basketball - 21. September 2013.

MEX - Mexican medal success rests in hands of Silva

XALAPA (FIBA Americas Championship for Women/FIBA World Championship for Women) - To expect the Mexican women to follow in the footsteps of the men's senior team who spectacularly won the FIBA Americas title earlier this month is perhaps one fairytale too far, but with Brisa Silva on board, sneaking onto the podium at the FIBA Americas Championship for Women which tips off on Saturday remains a distinct possibility.

Known for her unwavering dedication and passion for the game, Mexico possesses a player with poise, scoring power and an unquenchable thirst for hard work. Setting the tone for the rest of the team to follow is what Silva does.

She has been doing it ever since the mid 1990s, when she was one of the best Mexican girls to have ever picked up a ball and inevitably attracted plenty of attention.

Her attitude and skill led to NCAA court time and she benefitted from working with Women's Basketball Hall of Fame coach Lin Laursen at Central Arizona College, followed by time with Oklahoma State.

Then, around five years ago, Silva came to the brink of what would have been an almost immeasurable breakthrough for both her as an individual and women’s basketball in her homeland when she was handed an invite to the WNBA with Los Angeles Sparks.

A talented Mexican playing for the Sparks would have been absolutely huge both on and off the court in so many different ways, but it wasn't to be after an injury and Brisa had to settle for an eclectic mix of pro-clubs in Portugal, Germany, Nigeria, Brazil and Switzerland.

Such a colourful time at club level combined with her accomplishments as a leader with the national team, makes for a rich tapestry and Silva will continue providing the injection of class which could ignite the chances of the hosts.

With her heart so heavily immersed in the game and with an appetite to help Mexico further evolve as a women's basketball nation, she has also vowed to help develop the array of young players who will line up alongside her in Xalapa and those even younger ones waiting in the wings, who quite rightly look up to her as a role model.

Arguably a female version of Gustavo Ayon at least in terms of influence for her team, Silva has issued a rallying call in the Mexican media which will be music to the ears of her team-mates and supporters of the local favourites.

"Yes, I have faith that we can qualify for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women and that we can win a medal," she insisted.

"It will not be easy, but we know we will have the support of people in Xalapa and that is motivation enough."

Fans will get to see Silva in action on Day 1 against Argentina in Group B.

For full and in-depth coverage of the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women, go to the official website http://xalapa2013.com/en/default.asp?lang=en.

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photos Janos Schmidt 

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