Russia’s Yekaterinburg, a WNBA team-class world team, imposed its luxury on the moving effort of Perfumería Avenida and won its sixth Euroleague. The same ones that Alba Torrens already has on her record. The 31-year-old Spanish international enters the podium of the most successful players in the competition. Torrens reaches American Diana Taurasi, three times WNBA champion with Phoenix Mercury (2007, 2009 and 2014), seven times All Star, and six times Euroleague champion, between 2007 and 2016 (three with Spartak Moscow and three with Yekaterinburg himself). And also the Italian Lidia Gorlin, who won her first European Cup in 1980 with Torino and then won five more with Primigi Vicenza (1983, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988), who dominated that decade of the 80s. Only the unattainable Latvian Uliana Semenova, 2.13m, remains in front, a myth of women’s basketball. Semenova conquered two Olympic golds (Montreal 76 and Moscow 80), three world championships and 10 consecutive Europeans with the USSR and, in her club record she was 11 times continental champion with the historic Soviet Riga Daugawa, absolute governor of the tournament record with 18 titles in the first 24 editions, from 1959 to 1982. Torrens’ first came with Avenida in 2011, then he won in 2014 with Galatasaray, and the last four with Yekaterinburg (2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021).
In the final in Istanbul, Torrens, 170 caps and 8 medals with Spain, contributed three points and three rebounds in 19 minutes of play, enough to support the work of Emma Messeman (19 points and 8 rebounds), Courtney Vandersloot (12 assists) , Brittney Griner and Jonquel Jones. An unapproachable wall for a proud Avenida who, led by the feverish momentum of Tiffany Hayes (29 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists), stretched his surrender until the final minutes after overcoming all possible ailments and the devastating injury of Maite Cazorla , which definitely hampered Salamanca’s aspirations. Miguel Méndez’s Ekaterinburg (third consecutive title) won the fourth Euroleague in the last five editions disputed. On the 10th anniversary of its continental conquest, Avenida announced a future battle with a young project that resisted with personality and fought with passion against its all-powerful rival.
Yekaterinburg brought together Brittney Griner (2.03m), Emma Messeman (1.93m) and Breanna Steward (1.91m) in their strong starting five, loaded with wingspan. An example of the vast cast of the Russian team, with six WNBA All Stars on their roster, three of them American league champions. Twelve million euros of budget against one of the Salamanca club. But, applied in defense and dizzying in attack, Avenida dodged the shock and opted for vertigo to surprise his rival from the start. Tiffany Hayes and Emese Hof fearlessly launched into battle. From 8-2 from minute 3 to 19-7 just four later, with the only but serious setback of Maite Cazorla’s injury. The player from Gran Canaria bent her right ankle in a defensive marking and went to the bench in tears, aware that she was leaving the already battered rotation of her team lame. Adversity upset the body and soul of Perfumerías, who saw his options become even more flattened before him dream team Directed by Miguel Méndez.
It was another tower, Jonquel Jones (1.98m), which gradually rearmed a stranded Yekaterinburg, but conscious of its resources (21-16, m. 10). Meanwhile, a simultaneous game was being played on the Salamanca bench, with the doctor and the recuperators trying to recover Cazorla at forced marches. Without Andrea Vilaró, also played, it was Hayes who multiplied to also assume the direction in Silvia Domínguez’s breaks. But the Russian roller began to wreak havoc on the Salamanca defense. A triple by Allie Quigley sealed the tie (25-25, m. 14) and a layup by Breanna Stewart completed a run of 4-17 just before the trip to the locker room (29-39, m. 19). By then, the vigorous Russian team was flying before an avenue whose ailments pushed it into the territory of doubts. The second quarter closed with a conclusive 9-23, with the shortlist Griner, Messeman, Jones imposing his law on the paint and his experience on the full track against the youngest team in the Final Four, with 24 years on average.
The Avenida went from irreducible optimism to selfless resistance, Cazorla as an image of suffering. The Gran Canaria woman returned to the track, bandaged up to the knee, but she barely held on for a few seconds before finally signing up for the Salamanca war part. Silvia Domínguez wasn’t there for much more either. With Leo Rodríguez and Hayes alternating in the direction and Katie Lou Samuelson trying to find cracks, the Perfumerías went for an impossible. Roberto Íñiguez’s team cleared the penalty and surrendered to the cause redoubling passion and intensity. In four minutes, the score went from 38-52 to 53-57. A 15-5 run that allowed the Salamanca team to grab the final. Yekaterinburg got into a quagmire, Leo Rodríguez took the pulse of the management and Katie Lou adjusted the accounts further (57-59, m. 31). Anxiety and losses momentarily halted the momentum of Avenida, but Silvia Domínguez’s return to the track (reserved for the final minutes) and Milic’s points stretched Salamanca’s surrender. But the effort of the chase and Hof’s fifth foul ended the charro dream. Messeman’s pylon hammer finished sentencing the final. Yekaterinburg were European champions.