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Spanish League Round Three: Some similar complaints

Another round of women's basketball gets underway in Spain, and an article from a club president and former women's player in a major Spanish player illustrates just how similar the Spanish league is to the WNBA.

Photo by Getty Images.

As we head into Round 3 of the Spanish domestic league, you might not have heard much about European basketball.  Undoubtedly, you know that your favorite players ply their trade in Europe in the WNBA off-season.  There have been articles about Diani Taurasi making a six or seven figure (!) salary while playing for Russian moguls like the late Shabtai Kalmanovich.  Rumor has it that American WNBA players like Brittney Griner are making big salaries in China.

But often, these salaries are the exceptions.  Yes, the best American players can make six figure salaries but only a handful of teams can pay those salaries.  Several countries like Spain are facing financial difficulties and only a select number of teams are contenders every year.

"But at least," you might ask yourself, "women's basketball is more respected in Europe, right?"  You would think so.  European governments are definitely more left-leaning that that of the USA.  Clearly, Europeans have a more enlightened attitude about women participating in sports than the troglodytes found all over the English-language internet.

A article in El País might make you think twice. El País is a Madrid daily newspaper with the highest circulation in Spain, and they recently printed an opinion article by Clara Ruiz, formerly a player with Rivas Ecopolis and now the vice-president of the club.  See if these complaints don't sound familiar.

* She complains that even though the Spanish women's team earned the silver medal in the FIBA World Championship - their highest placement - the next day Spanish women's basketball disappeared in the media, with no follow up on LFB play.

* Male basketball gets much greater media and economic support in Spain.

* Female basketball teams have difficulty getting any kind of sponsorships.  Rivas Ecopolis has tried and tried, and now is in a state of financial crisis.

* Even though women are achieving successes in every other part of society, sport remains a men-only empire.

* The kind of money a soccer star makes in two weeks in Spain could float a Liga Femenina team at a high level of competition for an entire season.

* Players don't stay with their domestic league.  Instead, they flee to other countries to see where they can find the best salaries.

These are exactly the same complaints voiced about women's sport and the role of the WNBA on websites like Swish Appeal and elsewhere.  As the above demonstrates, Spanish women's basketball is very much like the WNBA, in that it shares the same concerns about the sport and its place in society.

Ruiz ends her article by asking for support from the struggling club.  If the WNBA - or some owner - wanted to strengthen their ties with European basketball, a start would be in strengthening clubs like Rivas Ecopolis.  Too often, we think of the WNBA and European basketball being in competition with each other.  It would be worth it for the WNBA to have long conversations with the European clubs, or at least begin an information-sharing process.  The strength of American women's basketball depends in part on the strength of the sport overseas, and vice versa.  The NBA realizes the value of international basketball and helping out clubs like Rivas would be a good start for the WNBA.


Gran Canaria 88, Ferrol 58

According to the writer at Eurobasket.com, this game was quite surprising by the margin of victory.  Then again, playing on your home court when the visitors have to take a plane ride to get to your islands is always a comforting prospect.  Ferrol lived by the 3-pointer and died by the 3-pointer, shooting 3-for-24 behind the arc.

Haley Peters got points for Ferrol, the problem was her 7-for-18 shooting and four turnovers.  DeNesha Stallworth had a better game, shooting 7-for-14 to score 19 points and 10 rebounds.

But it wasn't enough against Gran Canaria, who won every quarter but the last one. Robyn Parks is now adjusted to  the Spanish league it seems with 23 points and 7 rebounds, taking the burden off Akila McDonald who only played 22 points and scored 9 points/7 rebounds.  Gran Canaria's only weak point was that they turned the ball over 19 times, but they'll move up to 2-1 in the Spanish league while Ferrol takes its first loss.

Parks was happy about the win, obviously.  Note Peters looking on.




And @cbislascanarias - the Gran Canaria Twitter site - gives us a taste of game-day action.




Perfumerias 72, Al-Qazares 52



Perfumerias looks like it's turning itself around after that first round upset, as both of its follow up wins have been by 20+ points.  The home squad not only won every quarter but they led from start to finish.  Only a pair of players for Al-Qazares even cracked double-digits - Callan Taylor with 10 points and 5 rebounds and Carla Nascimento with 10 points.  Vanessa Ble only had six points but she didn't come into the game until the second quarter.

Afure Jemerigbe only scored 7 points for Al-Qazares.  Lady Comfort had an off-game with just four points on 2-for-10 shooting.

On the winners side, Angelica Robinson and Shay Murphy had 14 points each, with Robinson earning the double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.  Murphy had 6 assists to add to her 14 points and Vanessa Ble had 6 points and 7 rebounds as Perfumerias jumps to 2-1 on the season.  After opening the year with a surprise win against Gran Canaria, Al-Qazares falls to 1-2. 

Trivia: The 2500 crowd was a nice crowd for Perfumerias.

Cadi La Seu 56, Bembibre 55

Cadi La Seu squeaks by Bembibre on the road.  Laura Gil scored 17 points/6 rebounds and scored the go-ahead free throw with 10 seconds left on the clock.  There's not much else to say, as Translate Google spits out English descriptions of the game that are very hard to understand.  (I guess you had to be there, and had to be able to speak Spanish or Catalan.)  A writeup from the Bembibre side claims that Cadi La Seu won this one with defense, but the box score doesn't really give any indication of that.  Bembibre had 21 turnovers, but Cadi La Seu was 17 so it was sort of a wash.  Bembibre actually managed a little comeback in the final quareter, but couldn't get over the hump.

Ariel Edwards didn't play much for Bembibre.  She only played eight minutes, took three shots and missed all of them with two turnovers.  However, Rita Montenegro held up the flag for Bembibre with 13 points, 16 rebounds....and 10 turnovers. (!) 

Gil was the only player on Cadi La Seu who scored in double digits.  Tyrese Tanner scored just four points and shot 2-for-7 from the field.  Not a great game for either of the Americans.

Uni Girona 68, Mann Filter 60

in this match up between two 2-0 teams I expected perennial contender Mann Filter to win.  But instead, Uni Girona became only one of two Spanish domestic league teams to start the season at 3-0.    There were only 400 spectators on hand who watched a game decided by the refs, with 22 fouls charged to Mann Filter as opposed to just 9 to Uni Girona. 

Uni Girona's free throws?  14-for-21.  Mann Filter's?  Mann Filter didn't take a single free throw during the game! Despite shooting 50 percent, Uni Girona beat Mann Filter on the boards 36-24 and those fouls made a big difference.  Mann Filter managed to close to 51-51 with six minutes left to go, but it wasn't enough.

Melisa Gretter of Mann Filter led her team with 15 points and Kristine Vitola had 11 points and 9 rebounds.  Samarie Walker played 17 minutes but committed four fouls.  For Uni Girona, Vanessa Gidden had 18 points and 16 rebounds to lead all players in both categories.  Ify Ibekwe had 17 points and 7 steals for the winners.  Brittany Chambers was 0-for-5 from 3-point range, scoring eight points and five rebounds.

Gipuzkoa UPV 66, Campus Promete 48

In a match between two 0-2 teams, Gipukoa UPV gets its first win as a road team.  The Basques led or tied every single quarter and shut Campus Promete to just seven points in the last quarter.  Promete decided to empty the benches when teh game got out of reach and the team as a whole just shot 30 percent and 1-for-13 from 3-point range.

Maria Gomez had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the winners, and Miriam Foraste had 14 points and eight rebounds.  Jeanise Randolph added 7 rebounds. 

Americans Leslie Knight and LaNedra Brown were the only players that had double digits for Campus Promete.  Knight had 11 points and Brown had 10 points and five rebounds.

Conquero 79, Zamora 61


Zamora was the home team and they started cold, forced to play catch-up throughout the entire game.  Before the first minute of the game was over Conquero was up 7-0.  By the end of the first quarter, Conquero led 23-9 and were well on their way to a win.  Conquero shot an astonishing 33-for-55 - 60 percent for the game in front of Zamora's crowd of 200 spectators.

Gabriel Carrasco, head coach of Conquero, hoped at the beginning of the season that his team would be an offensive force, and he got his wish.  The last eight minutes he had the luxury of bringing players off the bench.

For Conquero, Adaora Elonu scored 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting and only had to play 25 minutes to get there.  Aja Parham had 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting and Maria Asurmendi had 7 points and eight assists.  Zamora had three players in double figures including Carolina Durbin with 10 points.  Marina Delgado had 12 points in a losing effort.

Gernika 73, Rivas Ecopolis 67



It looked like the Spanish league defending champions had a great opportunity to get their first win against visiting Gernika.  By halftime Rivas had a 39-30 lead, but then it started to slip away.  The margin was just five points at the end of three quarters due to an 8-0 run by Gernika.  The home squad would then give up another run, this time 10-0 which buried Rivas's hopes.  Rivas Ecopolis is now just one of two teams to start the season 0-3 and things are looking bleak.

There were problems in the game broadcast but if you want to listen to it online (and can speak Spanish), well, here you go! I'd love to be able to sync this up with the video above!




Rivas had players who could score, but just not enough of them.  Future Duke player Angela Salvadores led with 20 points and was fouled seven times.  Two other Rivas players scored in double digits, but Brianna Kulis only played for 14 minutes and scored just three points.

Three players scored 18 points for Gernika.  Bernice Mosby had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Claudia Pop scored 18 points and five rebounds, and Britany Miller had 8 points/7 rebounds in the win.

Spanish League 2014-10-22


Round 4 games (October 25th-26th)

Zamora (1-2) at Campus Promete (0-3)
Gipuzkoa UPV (1-2) at Uni Girona (3-0)
Mann Filter (2-1) at Cadi La Seu (1-2)
Bembibre (1-2) at Al-Qazares (1-2)
Perfumerias (2-1) at Ferrol (2-1)
Gran Canaria (2-1) at Gernika (3-0)
Rivas Ecopolis (0-3) at Conquero (2-1)