After a season when Ros Casares fell short of their desired titles (Spanish Liga Femenina and Euroleague), team president German Ros had only one option moving forward: in Valencia, it’s time to go big for the 2011-12 season.
On their roster, we’ll find three WNBA draft number one picks, two Euroleague champions, the Spanish Liga Femenina's MVP and some other European stars. Valencia will be a place to visit in the next European season.
The fabulous Australian will travel to Spain to be the face of this team. With lots of fans in Spain, the three-time WNBA MVP will have the chance to lead a team everybody wants to see. With her, we’ll find Ann Wauters. Also a great center, Wauters had a year off to give birth to her child, but will be back in September to give Ros Casares an unstoppable strength in the paint, along with Spanish international Sancho Lyttle. Born in Saint-Vincent, Lyttle won the National League and Euroleague with Ros Casares' main rival, Perfumerias Avenida.
Will be hard for her fans in Salamanca to see her moving to Valencia.
Silvia Dominguez, another Spanish international, is doing the same. Dominguez was the team leader on court, keeping the pace of the game and dishing out assists to her colleagues, mostly in Euroleague games, where she averaged 4.1 per game.
From Soller Joventud Mariana comes Eshaya Murphy, Liga Femenina’s 2011 MVP.
Murphy has been a traveler in her WNBA career, but during the last three seasons in Spain numbers are improving finishing last season as the league’s best scorer (25.5 ppg) and stealer (2.5 spg).
But Ros Casares will also keep some of their best players of last season. Spanish international Laia Palau, the team’s captain, is entering her sixth season in Valencia, probably losing some minutes with the new signings. Jana Vesela, WNBA champion, is the best positioned to be the sixth player in this team.
Two European stars will take ninth and tenth places in the team’s rotation.
Kata Honti, a Hungarian guard, is known for her Euroleague performances and will have her first chance to play abroad. As for Isabelle Yacoubou, European Champion in 2009 with the French National team, she arrives at Valencia after winning the Italian title with Familia Schio. Even being considered one of the great centers in European Leagues, she will have considerable difficulties to earn important minutes in Ros Casares 2011/12 version.
Counting days until January
That’s what European fans are doing since last week's Ros Casares roster announcement.
January will add Maya Moore in the Spanish side, for her first time in Europe. As if it wasn’t enough emotion to wait to see her playing in WNBA (and the accounts from the Team USA training camp just made those hopes bigger), knowing we’ll have the chance to see her play in Spain will be great. She stands to help both in Spanish League and Euroleague, and everybody’s expecting her to be the kind of player who can turn anyone into a diehard women's basketball fan. She'll be the ultimate addition to this Dream team.
Will it work? Will it be the "best team Ros Casares team ever", as announced by team’s President German Ros? We all hope so. With teams in Spain, Turkey and Russia piling up big names and big contracts, 2011-12 must be one of the most highly anticipated seasons in women's basketball.