Spanish women's basketball will have a winter break after Round 13. This is a good time to have a winter break, since the regular season is 26 games long.
This is also time when the top clubs in the Liga Femenina think about the Copa de la Reina. The Copa de la Reina is a competition in mid-season where the top four teams in the standings take place in a tournament for the "Queen's Cup". According to Wikipedia, it's the oldest Spanish women's basketball competition. It's been held since 1943 (!) but only since 1978 has it been held yearly. Since 2010, the Copa de la Reina has been a four-team competition.
Last year, the cup was between Perfumieras and Rivas Ecopolis. The last *three* cups were between those two teams. Apparently, Rivas Ecopolis will be hosting the cup so they're in - but can Perfumerias make it to a fourth straight Cup finals and second straight cup win? (Hint: find out below.)
Even though Rivas might not win the cup this year, they've got a reason to smile. Most of the season, it's looked like the very existence of Rivas Ecopolis next season has faced jeopardy. They've lacked a sponsor and they languish near the bottom of the Liga Femenina, facing the very real threat of relegation to a lower division next season.
One of those problems, however, has been solved. Movistar, a major Spanish/Latin American mobile phone operator, has agreed to sponsor Rivas Ecopolis. They will be providing key support to the club and hopefully, the survival of the club into next season will be assured. There's no word as to whether or not Rivas Ecopolis will change/alter its name, but this has to be good news for the passionate fans of Rivas Ecopolis. More money means not only the club's survival, but the possibility of strengthening the club after the winter break with some new player acquisitions.
And now, on to Round 11.....
Bembibre 65, Rivas Ecopolis 63
Round 11 play started on Friday, and it looked like Rivas Ecopolis (3-8) was going to start the long climb out of the cellar. After three quarters, they had visiting squad Bembibre (7-4) on the ropes after a 22-12 third quarter that put the Reds up 56-39.
But then, Rivas Ecopolis collapsed in the final quarter. They were held to just seven points in the final quarter. Bembibre coach Chiqui Barros said that the goal of Bembibre in the fourth quarter was to play defense and buy time. Bembibre certainly found its offense, scoring 26 fourth-quarter points.
Lyndra Weaver of Rivas ledall players with 20 points and 7 rebounds, shooting 8-for-13 from the floor. Alexander Vujovic was second in scoring with 12 points. Lady Comfort, a new Rivas acquisition, scored four points on 2-for-3 shooting in 10 minutes of play.
For Bembibre, Ariel Edwards was the player of the game with 19 points and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Roso Buch scored 19 points and the entire Bembibre team excelled at the free throw line, shooting 15-for-16. Any lesser performance and it might have been Rivas's turn to shine.
Conquero 80, Ferrol 59
Conquero (10-1) became the first Spanish team to get to 10 wins this season with a decisive home victory against visiting Ferrol (4-7).
Ferrol was simply offensively out-gunned. The visitors managed to keep it close in the first half, just down by four points after a 39-35 half. But Ferrol was swamped in the second half and all-in-all Ferrol only won three quarters of the game.
Conquero has reason to celebrate because with the win, they mathematically qualify to be one of the four teams in the Copa de la Reina. It's the first time that Conquero has ever played in the Copa de la Reina.
"Black Power" does it again for Conquero as all of their American players scored in double digits. Adaora Elonu had 19 points/7 rebounds, Aja Parham had 17 points/8 rebounds/6 steals and Chelsea Davis had 20 points/7 rebounds. Only Maria Asurmendi joined them in double digits with her 10 points.
Haley Peters scored 15 points but had four turnovers and was 1-for-6 from 3-point range. DeNesha Stallworth had 13 points and 8 rebounds, and Cristina Pedrals added 12 points in the loss.
Gipuzkoa UPV 77, Gran Canaria 56
Gipuzkoa UPV (5-6) looks like the strongest of the three squads that moved into the Liga Femenina this season and are almost at .500 this season with a big win on the road against Gran Canaria (3-8).
Gran Canaria found themselves down 24-12 after one quarter - Gipuzkoa UPV went on an 11-0 run during that quarter - and spent the rest of the game looking up. The home squad didn't win a single quarter, shooting only 31 percent for the entire game despite out-rebounding Gipuzkoa UPV 46-31. The visitors got a big boost being sent to the foul line 26 times, and even though they only hit 18 shots it was better than the 7-for-8 from Gran Canaria.
All of the starters for Gipuzkoa UPV scored in double digits, led by Oumoul Sarr with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Maria Gomez with 12 points and 11 assists. Miriam Forasted had 13 points and played 38 minutes but was forced to leave the game with a bloodied nose. Lenita Sanford out of UNLV, who signed with the club in late November, had zero points in 11 minutes but scored six rebounds.
Robyn Parks led all Gran Canaria players with 17 points/6 rebounds and Vega Gimeno added 13 points/8 rebounds. Akila McDonald played seven minutes but had zero points and just two rebounds.
Zamarat 72, Mann Filter 65
Mann Filter (3-8) tried to pull themselves a little bit out of the logjam near the end of the table but fell short, losing to home squad Zamarat (5-6).
I'm looking at the box score and and trying to figure out how they did it. They took 29 shots from behind the 3-point arc and only hit four of them, dropping their shooting percentage down to 33 percent. But they were 20-for-24 at the free throw line and absolutely dominated Mann Filter on the board, winning the rebounding battle 46-21 and the offensive rebounding battle 23-6.
Sofia Gomes led Zamarat with 16 points followed by Dragana Svitlica with 13 points/6 rebounds. Maria Manzanares had 4 points/12 rebounds in the win. Caroline Durbin played 20 minutes but only had two points to show for it.
Samarie Walker led Mann Filter with 16 points/11 rebounds on 7-for-10 shooting. Belen Arrojo had 14 points/8 rebounds and Melisa Gretter had 11 points.
Samaria Walker didn't get the win, but she did introduce her teammate Carol Esparcia to the joys of black tights!
Perfumerias 84, Gernika 63
Perfumerias (10-1) secured a spot in the Copa de La Reina with this win on the road against Gernika (6-5).
Gernika tried to hang with Perfumerias early on, and after the first quarter the score was tied at 22-22. But in the second quarter they were clobbered 27-10 and they never won another quarter. Perfumerias shot 53 percent for the game and Gernika turned the ball over 25 times in the loss by Gernika.
For Gernika, Bernice Mosby led all players with 21 points/9 rebounds. Mirna Mazic had 15 points and Claudia Pop contributed 10 points.
Six players scored in double figures for Perfumerias, including Shay Murphy with 15 points and Angelica Robinson with 10 points/6 rebounds. No player for Perfumerias played longer than 27 minutes.
Murphy was all smiles with Robinson on her Instagram account.
The Americans on both squads were glad to see each other.
Girona 69, Cadi La Seu 49
Girona (10-1) secured the final spot in the Copa de La Reina with a 20-point victory over visiting Cadi La Seu (7-4). The loss by Cadi La Seu eliminated them from cup qualification, setting the four teams going to the Copa de la Reina as Rivas Ecopolis, Perfumerias, Conquero and Girona.
Girona won all four quarters. They held Cadi La Seu to 32 percent shooting despite committing 20 turnovers of their own. Cadi La Seu tried long-range bombing but shot 3-for-22 from behind the 3-point line.
Ify Ibekwe had another big Liga Femenina game. She had 19 points/12 rebounds and shot 8-for-11 from the ield. Brittany Chambers had 14 points and 10 rebounds, but also had seven turnovers in the Girona victory.
Ana Maria Suarez led Cadi La Seu with 11 points and Laura Gil had 10 points and 8 rebounds. Tyrese Tanner had 7 points after 11 minutes of play. Ali Schwagmeyer did not appear in the box score and I have no idea what her current status is.
A Catalan TV network interviewed Ify Ibekwe. Since we can't insert the video inline, you'll have to watch her interview at this link.
Campus Promete 74. Al-Qazeres 63
With Chanel Mokango playing her first game in the Liga Femenina, her Campus Promete (2-9) got a much needed win over a similarly struggling Al-Qazeres (2-9) team.
Campus Promete got off to a strong 23-14 lead which served them in good stead. Al-Qazeres continued to struggle, shooting 32 percent for the game, weighted down by their overshooting the 3-point shot (they went 5-for-22).
Naiara Galilea led Campus Promete for 18 points. Adrijana Knezevic had 17 points and 6 rebounds. Chanel Mokango only played 14 minutes but had 9 points/7 rebounds. Amina Njonkou had 10 points/10 rebounds and Leslie Knight had two points in just nine minutes of play.
Karla Gilbert has 22 points and 7 rebounds in Al-Qazeres's loss. Callan Taylor added 12 points and Veronica Sanchez had 11 points/9 rebounds.
Round 12 (December 12-14)
Rivas Ecopolis (3-8) @ Mann Filter (3-8)
Zamarat (5-6) @ Gipuzkoa UPV (5-6)
Cadi La Seu (7-4) @ Gran Canaria (3-8)
Campus Promete (2-9) @ Ferrol (4-7)
Conquero (10-1) @ Perfumerias (10-1)
Gernika (6-5) @ Bembibre (7-4)
Girona (10-1) @ Al-Qazeres (2-9)