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ESP - Cruz bids farewell to Rivas
MADRID (EuroLeague Women/EuroBasket Women) - Spanish international Anna Cruz is about to embark on another journey with Spain's national team, a side that will compete at the EuroBasket Women in France.
With many a key player dropping out of several national squads, the Spaniards' chances of surviving a tough Group B with Russia, Italy and Sweden, and making a run at the podium, are looking pretty good.
This is a national squad that played at two straight Olympics (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008) and captured bronze at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women, only to fall short of the Quarter-Finals at the EuroBasket Women 2011 and miss out on the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Cruz will be, as she has been the past several years, a key player in the national team.
For the first time, she will do so knowing that when her Spain commitments end, she will not return to Rivas Ecopolis.
The 26-year-old's four-year run with the team she helped go on a stunning run to the 2012 EuroLeague Women Final is over.
The club has announced that she has "received an irresistible offer" from a foreign outfit and is leaving.
Cruz wasn't able to go out on a high, with Rivas having only just fallen to Perfumerias Avenida in the Liga Femenina Finals.
"For the fans of Rivas I have only words of thanks," she said.
"I felt very loved and supported during these four years.
"They were simply great.
"Fans have always been with us, both through the good and bad, and to me, Rivas has the best women's basketball fans...
"For me it is very difficult to 'leave' this club because I'm so emotionally attached to it.
"I've grown a lot as a player at this club, but mostly, I have as a person. I can only say thank you."
Cruz, who averaged 14.1 points per game in the EuroLeague Women this season, leaves Rivas as the outfit's all-time leading scorer.
She was an integral part of the side that won the Copa de la Reina in 2011, and 2013.
14. March 182
photo Cheltenham jockey club
14. March 202
photo Cheltenham Racecourse