Spanish Women’s Basketball Extends Its Reign In Europe

07/08/2019 · By Iñigo Esteban
seleccion española baloncesto
The Spanish Basketball Federation revalidated their 2017 EuroBasket title and once again got the gold in Belgrade. © FEB

The female stars of Spanish basketball opened a new page in the history book to write down another milestone in gold letters: they overwhelmed France in the final to revalidate a EuroBasket title they conquered in 2017, taking the third gold in the last four consecutive European championships played. The girls managed by Lucas Mondelo concluded a fantastic tournament in which they went from less to more, and showed everyone why they’re already considered a legendary generation.

Spanish women’s basketball has achieved another milestone. The national team conquered Europe once again, and kept their seat on the continental throne, which they’d already been occupying since the 2017 EuroBasket. In the final of 2019, the Spanish swept the floor with the powerful French team and added the fourth gold medal to our medal table. They did so after remaining undefeated throughout the tournament, showing, albeit after a start that left some room for doubt, why they’re already considered a legendary team.

The overwhelming victory in the final against France was the confirmation that, in spite of the sensitive losses of stars such as Alba Torrens and Sancho Lyttle, Lucas Mondelo’s girls are still one step ahead of everyone else. Astou Ndour chosen as the tournament’s MVP (most valuable player), and Marta Xargay, who showed that this selection’s weak point is definitely not the three-pointer (5 out of 8 in the final), were the team’s top scorers during the competition. They were joined by experienced veterans such as captain Laia Palau and Silvia Domínguez and the excellent defensive performance of Laura Gil, in addition to the contribution of other players who may not be as well-known but who’ve certainly played their part in reaching the top once again.

It had been 28 years since any team repeated a continental title

The final was a confirmation of the Spanish selection’s meteoric progression throughout the EuroBasket Cup in Serbia and Latvia. The tough start of our girls, suffering more than expected against Ukraine, Great Britain and Latvia, created some doubt. However, as soon as they reached the quarterfinals, they let their hair down. They achieved an overwhelming victory against the a priori fearsome Russian team (78-54), and they showed character and skill to manage both game and time against another favourite, hostesses Serbia (71-66). France, as in the other three EuroBasket Cups we already had in the pocket, awaited in the final, and the outcome was identical (86-66).

It had been 28 years since any team repeated a continental title – the last one had been the almighty USSR, back in 1991. Spain repeated the feat thanks to Astou Ndour, Marta Xargay (both chosen in the ideal quintet), Laia Palau, Anna Cruz, Tamara Abalde and company, who’ve claimed their place in the history of women’s basketball by revalidating the title they already won in 2017 and adding it to those already achieved by their predecessors in 2013 and 1993.

The Spanish women’s basketball team’s record just keeps growing – fortunately so. This fourth EuroBasket Cup title (the third of the last four they’ve played) is the girls’ seventh consecutive medal, between continental, world and Olympic championships. Furthermore, it’s the 13th medal out of 18 possible this century.

And since we’re on the subject of collecting titles, coach Lucas Mondelo could be doing workshops on how to do so, as he has just added his seventh medal in seven championships at the service of the national team.

The most watched women’s basketball game in history

On the other hand, the final on Sunday, 7 July not only meant a historic moment when it comes to titles. The girls had close to 1.9 million spectators sitting in front of the television to support them, obtaining a 15.5% audience rating, thus making the encounter with the French the most-watched game in the history of the women’s basketball in Spain. In fact, over three million people watched the golden minute, representing a 21% audience rating.