Valencia Basket, champion of the Queen’s Cup by crushing Casademont Zaragoza | Basketball | Sports

Valencia Basket reaffirmed its supremacy in Spanish basketball and, ten months after winning the League, completed the collection of national titles with the only one it was missing – it has two Super Cups -, the Copa de la Reina. A trophy they achieved after crushing (77-53) a great rival, Casademont Zaragoza, who suffered a lot with the defense of the Valencians and with a hellish schedule that forced them to play three games in just 40 hours. An insane programming that damaged the show.

The Cup elevated an unexpected queen. Leti Romero had had a season without much fanfare and left Huelva, from the Carolina Marín Sports Palace, with the title and the MVP after a marvelous performance, with 17 points in the first half. The Canarian base became an offensive torment that Casademont Zaragoza could have compensated with a good attack, but there it collided with the extraordinary defense of Valencia Basket, especially the one led by the outside Queralt Casas, who devoured Leo Fiebich, the star of the Zaragoza, and Ialina Iagupova, the Ukrainian forward who practically doubled Tanaya Atkinson’s physical power.

The great team effort of the Rubén Burgos players was completed by the two inside players, Nadia Fingall and Marriett Hempe, who also won the duels in the paint. Fiebich ended up unhinged after Queralt only allowed her to score four points in 34 minutes. The German only breathed when her pair went to the bench, with the flag standing and the final resolved.

Valencia Basket’s defensive muscle left some revealing data. One was that Casademont Zaragoza could only get three offensive rebounds in the entire final. Another, that in the first quarter of the only 12 points that Carlos Cantero’s team could achieve, seven were on free throws. To that he could only add a basket of two and a triple. Valencia, one day after their defensive performance against Movistar Estudiantes, against whom they had almost nine minutes without scoring in the first quarter, were sending a very clear message to their opponent, that they were going to have to suffer a lot to overcome their defense .

Cantero didn’t know how to stop everything that was coming at him. He first sat Mariona Ortiz, the best on his team in the semifinals, seeing that she was unable to contain Romero’s attacking success, who got oil from the ‘pick-and-roll’. And then to Leo Fiebich, who could hardly breathe with Queralt Casas attached to her.

Valencia Basket also showed that it has a squad designed to win titles. In the first half of the season he went through a crisis that led him to get rid of Rebeca Allen. Her luck was that she found a four-leaf clover in the middle of the winter market: double EuroLeague MVP Alina Iagupova. A woman with such striking physical power that she changed the fortunes of Valencia Basket. Although the temperance of Rubén Burgos, a year wiser, also had a lot to do with it, the coach with whom he was promoted to the top category in 2018 and who today, six years later, directs a champion team.

Casademont Zaragoza tried it with all possible combinations. Playing a ticket to the lottery of their bomber Petra Holesinska, giving minutes to Aleksa Gulbe, who has rounded off a notable Cup, or tempting fate with a zone defense that did not bear fruit. The still champions were within six points (24-18). They didn’t go from there. Leti Romero didn’t care what was in front of her. The player from Agüimes (Gran Canaria) had one of those days in which the shooters see the hoop a little bigger than usual and, with plenty of confidence after an excellent Cup, scored five points in the last minute of the second quarter to shoot his team 17 points ahead at halftime (47-30).

Casademont Zaragoza could not withstand the challenge that the Valencian team proposed with its defense and, minute by minute, they sank against a team that did not let up. The absurd schedule of this Cup, also so disparate, with a match on Friday that ended almost at eleven at night, a second on Saturday, with 17 hours of rest, at 3 p.m., and the final, without 18 hours to recovering, at 12:30 on Sunday, left the defenders of the title without steam, who ended up crushed under the fist of a relentless Valencia Basket.

The new champion did not even miss Raquel Carrera, his franchise player, a star of European basketball, who was seriously injured – ruptured the cruciate ligament in her knee – in the first game. Her teammates stepped forward to give her this Cup, and ahead of them all, Leti Romero, a player who dazzled since she was a child. The point guard debuted in the Women’s League when she was only 15 years old and was the MVP of the U20 European Championship. After three years in the American college league she quit the WNBA and returned to Europe to play for USK Prague. Until, in 2019, she joined the winning Valencia Basket project with which she has won very important titles. This season she couldn’t shine. Her best score was 13 points. Until she arrived in Huelva and she displayed all her talent (19 points and four rebounds) to guide her team to the Cup title.

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