"The moment the buzzer sounded in Ekaterinburg."
For Alba Torrens, it’s easy to define the happiest moment of this season during a chat with Spanish paper Marca. Halcón Avenidas Salamanca had won Euroleague and, a few minutes after, Torrens was named MVP. At 21, she’s reached the top spot in European competition, being recognized as the best player of the continent.
She’s a 6-3 forward, a quick and intelligent player who brings magic to any game. Her physical presence allows her to help inside, but she’s really a 2-3 player, gaining an advantage from her height. Those who have followed her career since the beginning are not surprised to see her reach this level at such a young age. It was something everybody was expecting to happen. And here it is.
Born in Binissalem, in the Balearic Islands, she was only14 when the Spanish Federation scouts identified her talent and she was invited to go to Barcelona. Her father Miguel Ángel was betting on her, as quoted in an article by Robert Alvarez in El Pais: "Having not tried that, she would pass the rest of her life thinking about what she might have lost. The possibility of coming back home was always possible".
But she never did.
Instead, after spending three years in a national basketball school, she signed with Celta de Vigo and made her debut at the Spanish League at only 17 years old. Alba Torrens is part of the "Golden Generation" of Women Basketball in Spain. They collect honors in European Nations Competitions, with gold medals in U16, U17, U18, Silver in U20, and, in the main team, bronze in both European and World Cups. Being signed by Halcón Avenidas Salamanca, in 2009, was the natural road to take - it's one of the two most important teams in Spanish League, and with consecutive Euroleague’s presences, Halcón Avenidas represented the last step to Torrens recognition.
Alba Torrens also ain’t a stranger to WNBA. In 2009, she was drafted by Connecticut Sun in the third round. As she said in the Marca chat, she has the natural desire to play "in one of the main leagues in the world, where, of course, I could be an even better player". But for now, she’s focused in getting the Spanish League title with Halcón Avenida (they’ve reached the finals after beating Rivas Ecopolis last weekend). After that, she’ll join the National team to play the Eurobasket in Poland next June. The goal is to reach gold and the London 2012 ticket, as Torrens wants to repeat an Olympic presence after making it in 2008 at only 19 years old. She´s making it in the image of Amaya Valdemoro, the former Houston Comets player, who is an example for all the players in Alba’s generation. But the fact that WNBA is played in the summer is a problem. "We’ll have to see how we can work it out with the National team games".
Coming back from Russia, with the Euroleague title in their hands, the Halcón Avenida players were received in Salamanca’s main square where their fans were calling them "Queens of Europe". It was a really amazing moment, when the citizens paid homage to a women's basketball team that won the biggest sports event in the city history. Amongst these "queens", one was capturing the attention of everyone in the square. It was Alba Torrens. Maybe a star was born, last week, between Ekaterinburg and Salamanca.
We’ll have to wait and see where the future will take her, be it in Spain or in the WNBA.