The Women’s National Basketball Team Five Years After Skimming The Sky

07/03/2019 · By Iñigo Esteban
womens basketball team
The Women’s Basketball Team made history winning silver in the 2014 World Cup in Turkey. © RFEB

This summer marks five years of one of the recent and ongoing milestones the Spain Women's National Basketball Team is achieving. The Spanish team became the second best team in the world, positioning themselves in the FIBA ​​ranking as the best European team and succumbing only to the mighty United States. We go back to that fantastic tournament, in which a group of friends added a new accolade to the national medal table.

Recalling the fun lived in a past era, sang Loquillo y los Trogloditas in their anthem Cuando fuimos los mejores (When We Were the Best). Because of its title, the tune could be the perfect soundtrack to the Spain Women’s National Basketball Team’s run in the 2014 World Cup in Turkey, as only the out-of-this-world Team USA could match ours. That October 5, a group of friends stepped back onto the court to have fun and, while they couldn’t take the gold, they did take the spot in the FIBA ​​ranking as the best side in Europe.

Alba Torrens, Sancho Lyttle (both included in the Ideal Quintet of that tournament), Laia Palau and company got together, like many other summers, under the baton of coach Lucas Mondelo. Brazil, Czech Republic and Japan were the first victims of a dynamic, cheerful and intense playing style that led the Spanish team to the quarterfinals with limited suffering.

The next obstacle was China, who also didn’t know how to sink their teeth into our women’s team and, in another twist, we had a face-off with hosts Turkey in the semi-finals. The ten points scored after a vibrant comeback made the difference and landed the national team their first ever World Cup final. The basketball girls had, again, made history, before facing the US.

Since that 2014 World Cup this squad have continued having fun and reaping success

The star-studded American team never allowed our ladies to even dream of winning the match, let alone the tournament. But what they didn’t manage was to erase the smile on their faces when, proud and after having given everything, they stepped onto their spot on the podium. It was a silver medal that felt like gold and, above all, it was another epic addition to the success that Spanish women’s basketball has been having since the nineties.

Since the gold medal in the EuroBasket of 1993, the girls of the basketball team have been bagging one medal after the other. After that runner-up spot in the 2014 World Cup, without the emblematic Amada Valdemoro and Elisa Aguilar, there has been Olympic silver in London 2016, the third gold and another bronze in EuroBaskets 2017 and 2015, respectively, and bronze in the World Cup 2018 in Spain.

This summer, with the unbreakable Laia Palau, the most capped Spanish player ever, captaining the ship, the girls will fight again for the fourth Eurobasket, where also including four other players who were part of that 2014 silver team: Laura Nicholls, Silvia Domínguez, Marta Xargay, and Anna Cruz. What is no longer felt is the nostalgic vibe of Loquillo’s song, because since that 2014 World Cup this squad have continued having fun, reaping success and competing to remain the best, as their track record reflects. And by the looks of it, they’re nowhere near finished.