Queen’s Cup: Valencia Basket and Perfumerías Avenida hope to dethrone Casademont Zaragoza | Basketball | Sports


Huelva hosts this week, from Thursday to Sunday, the great women’s basketball festival in Spain. The Carolina Marín Sports Palace will be the scene of the Queen’s Cup, a competition in which Valencia Basket and Perfumerías Avenida Salamanca, each on one side of the table, hope to dethrone Casademont Zaragoza, the surprising champion of 2022 in a Prince Felipe pavilion with 10,000 spectators. At a time when Spanish basketball has taken a leap in quality, many teams are wondering if taking this tournament to Huelva, a city without a presence in the elite, and scheduling the semifinals and final at noon does not mean tripping up His sport.

Valencia Basket and IDK Euskotren from San Sebastián will open the competition this Thursday (6:00 p.m., RTVE Play and Twitch FEB) in a duel in which it would be a complete surprise if Rubén Burgos’ team, the current League champion, did not win. Their first half of the season was not as brilliant as everyone expected and that had consequences: a premature elimination in the Euroleague and the cutting of one of its figures, the Australian Bec Allen. But the club found a bargain in the winter market and incorporated one of the best players in the world, the Ukrainian Alina Iagupova, twice elected Euroleague MVP. The Valencian team has grown remarkably with this signing, a woman with a striking physique, who joins brilliant stars such as Raquel Carrera, Alba Torrens and Queralt Casas. The failure in Europe has also allowed them to reach the Cup without the stress or wear and tear suffered by Perfumerías Avenida and Casademont Zaragoza, who reached the quarterfinals of the Euroleague, or Spar Girona, who had a tough and meritorious way to the semi-finals of the Eurocup. The Copa de la Reina is the only national title that the ‘taronja’ team is missing.

Spar Girona will next play (8:30 p.m.; Teledeporte) against Movistar Estudiantes in the theoretically more even tie. The players of the Ramiro team, popularly known as the ‘Women in Black’, see themselves with options against a more eroded rival, with notable casualties, but who are led by one of the best coaches in Europe, Roberto Íñiguez. The coach from Vitoria, who shared a class and almost a desk with Pablo Laso as a child, arrived on the Girona bench at Christmas after leaving the European runners-up, the Turkish Cukurova. Íñiguez has given command of the team to Sandra Ygueravide, a 39-year-old Valencian who has reached her prime on the way to 40. The base will be in the Olympic Games on the Spanish 3×3 team and she is the leader of Spar Girona.

The other two qualifiers will be played on Friday. Perfumerías Avenida, the most successful club in the history of the Cup, with ten titles, will face Lointek Gernika (6:00 p.m., Teledeporte), a team that has already defeated them this season. But the Salamanca team arrives in full force, with a streak of eight consecutive wins in the League, the competition in which it is the equal leader in victories with Valencia Basket. These two teams will face each other right after the Cup – on the 28th, in La Fonteta – with the lead and a place in the Euroleague (the winner of the regular league is assured of their presence in the top competition) at stake.

The Salamanca team, which has been present in 16 of the last 20 finals, has recovered its best version since Nacho Martínez took the reins of the team. Perfumerías Avenida, which signed Bernadett Hatar, a 2.08 meter tall Hungarian tower, to replace the injured Mariella Fasoula (pillar of the Charro team), has just recovered Silvia Domínguez, a historic 37-year-old point guard who has already She has five titles, she has played 32 Cup matches and she is the woman who has distributed the most assists (119) in the history of this competition.

The quarterfinals will end (8:30 p.m., RTVE Play, Aragón TV and Twitch FEB) with the debut of the current champion, Casademont Zaragoza, against Baxi Ferrol, one of the surprises of the season. Carlos Cantero’s team, led by Leo Fiebich, the League MVP, has the difficult challenge of defending its throne against two rivals with a larger budget and record of achievements after fighting three tough games with Cukurova. But their competitive spirit is more than proven and all their opponents know that they are an irreducible team.

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