ZAMORA (Copa de la Reina) - There was a very important spectator at the Copa de la Reina over the weekend.
Lucas Mondelo, the Spain national team coach, watched in Zamora as many of the players he will work this summer at the EuroBasket Women in France, slugged it out in the four-team event in Zamora.
Mondelo steered Perfumerias Avenida to the Copa triumph last year but this season, the Salamanca club fell in the Final to Rivas Ecopolis, 83-62.
The contest was knotted at half-time but Rivas stamped their authority on proceedings in the third quarter, outscoring Perfumerias 20-9.
The Madrid team pressed home the advantage in the fourth quarter to claim its second Copa triumph in the last three years.
One player that didn´t hurt her chances of being named in Spain´s preliminary squad for the EuroBasket was Queralt Casas, who played for Mondelo when he coached the Spanish under-19 and under-20 teams.
The MVP of the2011 U20 European Championship for Women and a silver-medal winner that same year at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, Casas played just under 15 minutes in Sunday´s Copa Final and had 10 points.
She buried a couple of three-balls from three attempts.
"It´s my first title won with a club after winning medals with the national (youth) team and some individual honors,” she said.
“I am very happy with the game we have made and the tournament we have done to a very tough opponent."
Anna Cruz and Laura Nicholls, two other Spain internationals, finished with 14 and seven points, respectively.
Perfumerias had a trio of players in the Spain set-up in Marta Xargay (9pts, 4ass, 4rbs), Lucila Pascua (2pts) and Marta Fernandez (8pts).
Miguel Mendez saluted Cruz, Casas and his Ukraine international forward Olexandra Kurasova, one who would be a leading contender for a ´comeback player of the year award´ if such an honor existed in Europe.
Aneika Henry had 17 points and 11 rebounds and was the MVP of the Final for Rivas.
“I am very lucky to be the coach of this team,” said Mendez, who led Rivas to a surprise runners-up finish in last year´s EuroLeague Women.
Rivas will now attempt to win the Liga Femenina for the first time.