MADRID (FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women) – Some of the youngsters who impressed for Spain’s junior teams last year will now be given a chance to shine with the senior side after being named in coach Evaristo Perez’s preliminary squad for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Perez, who led the Spanish to a silver medal at the 2007 EuroBasket Women in Chieti, Italy, has retained eight players from that squad but also named emerging talents such as last year’s U20 European Championship MVP Silvia Domínguez in the preliminary group for the qualifying tournament to be staged in Madrid next month.
Domínguez led Spain’s U20 team to the gold medal in Sofia.
Anna Cruz, Alba Torrens, María Revuelto, Tamara Abalde and Laura Nicholls have also been included in the preliminary Spain.
Elisa Aguilar, Nuria Martínez, Laia Palau, Isabel Sánchez, Amaya Valdemoro, Anna Montañana, Lucila Pascua and Cindy Lima – all stars from Chieti - were included in Perez’s team.
“I’ve tried to get a group of players that can together achieve the best potential and for that to happen, one of the characteristics that I have tried to achieve is to maintain balance and stability within a group in order to have cohesion which helps bring out the best in the players,” Perez said.
“This is not a new stage but more of a continuation of a project that we began over a year ago and that has as its finality to reach the Olympic Games.”
Abalde, who played college basketball in the United States this year, along with Nicholls and Torrens were in the Spain side that captured silver at the U18 European Championship for Women in Novi Sad.
Cruz played for Spain at the U20 European Championship for Women in 2006 while the 26-year-old Revuelto has had a fine season this year with Baloncesto San José.
There was no place for Marta Fernandez, a EuroLeague Women All Star who played for Spain at the 2004 Olympics.
Injury ruled Fernandez out of last year’s competition.
“Undoubtedly there are some players who are left out of the team, but the number is limited,” Perez said.
“Our biggest aim is to compete and to try and get results with work.
“The pre-Olympic tournament is a strange competition considering you are not fighting for a title, or a medal.
“But the aim is to get a place in the Olympics, and that will already be a success considering the number of teams that can compete in the Games.”
The Spanish are hosting the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Madrid.
Perez’s team is in the same qualifying group with Brazil and Fiji, and is likely to face Cuba or Belarus in the quarter-finals.
Five Olympic places are up for grabs at the qualifying tournament.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images