Never before had so many people gone to La Fonteta to see the Valencia Basket women’s team, but close to 7,000 fans smelled that the first League might be close and they did not fail. The team, launched since the start of the playoffs, with indisputable victories in all their matches, displayed the game that makes them an almost indestructible rival. The defense, his hallmark, the basis of all his potential, worked as in the best days and in attack, led by a colossal Lauren Cox -with five triples and 21 points in the first three quarters- boosted Rubén Burgos’s team to a twenty-point advantage (62-42) that seemed definitive.
But no one has a better job in Spain than Perfumerías Avenida, present in the last 17 finals, with victories in eight of them. At the restart, the charro team defensively matched Valencia and went from 43-24 at half-time to a disturbing 49-40. Queralt Casas put an end to this first attack by the reigning champions. The Catalan escort hit a three pointer, stole the ball on the next play and right after gave Cox an assist so that he punished with one of his three pointers (55-40).
Valencia seemed to have regained control and, recovering their assets, driven by their fans and led by a Cris Ouviña who was recovering, after a season without giving the performance of other years, just in time, they unleashed what seemed the perfect storm that led him to reach a twenty-point lead that seemed insurmountable.
Valencia Basket wanted to party, to celebrate their first victory, and they rushed. Vilaró did not think so and began to tickle his opponent, finding points from Prince and Fasoula in the inside game. Nervousness spread to the Valencian ranks, who saw how a victory they thought they had in hand was slipping away.
In the last quarter, those of Pepe Vázquez, who arrived without Mic Onyenwere, forced by the WNBA to travel to the United States before the start of the league, and Bridget Carleton, had the ability to return to the game. They got within two points (68-66), but two free throws by Leti Romero and another providential steal by Queralt Casas served to avoid what would have been a debacle.
Valencia Basket is one victory away from their first League, while Perfumerías Avenida needs to win on Sunday (9:00 p.m., Teledeporte) to force a tiebreaker, again in Valencia, the following Thursday and prevent Valencia from retaking power in Spanish basketball which he already had in two stages: first with Dorna Godella and then with Ros Casares, two teams that were also European champions.
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