Three Noles Win EuroBasket Title
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Florida State Women's Basketball alumnae Leonor Rodriguez, Leticia Romero and Maria Conde celebrated in style on Sunday, helping Spain to a 71-55 win over France in the EuroBasket Finals in Prague to claim the tournament title.
The three Spanish National Team members all played big roles in helping elevate Florida State Women's Basketball to a consistent Top 10 NCAA Division I program. Each was able to help their country maintain its place at the top as Europe's best women's basketball team, and the clear challenger to the United States' reign in the sport.
Rodriguez, a sharp-shooting guard for the Seminoles from 2009-12, played in five of Spain's six games. The Canary Islands native averaged 1.2 points in 3.3 minutes played per game. She adds to her national team accolades after also helping last year's Spanish National Team win a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Romero, coming off her third straight All-America season with FSU, averaged 2.8 points in 5.2 minutes played per game. She is a possible successor to the lead point guard role for a thriving Spanish country that maintains its No. 2 spot in the Nike FIBA World Rankings. The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA currently hold her draft rights as she continues to break through for her native country.
Conde, who finished her second and final season with FSU in 2016-17, averaged 2.9 minutes but also missed action with an injury. One of the youngest members of the team, her game figures to only head upward as her length and quickness project her to be a defensive force for years to come. The native of Madrid is just 20 years old.
Spain began the EuroBasket Tournament defeating Hungary 62-48, then followed with a 76-54 win over Ukraine in group phase action. Despite falling to host country Czech Republic 67-63, Spain had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals.
Thanks to a 27-12 start in the first quarter, Spain defeated Latvia handily on June 19 to cruise to the semifinals. In that matchup vs. upstart Belgium, Spain remain undaunted with a 68-52 win followed by its 16-point victory over France.
The win over France was a measure of revenge for the Spanish National Team, which fell to its finals opponent in the 2015 EuroBasket semifinals 63-58.
Spain has more exciting action ahead as it tries to stay on top as Europe's biggest power. The country is an automatic qualifier for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup, which takes place in Spain from Sept. 22-30, 2018. In the 2014 World Cup held in Turkey, Romero and Rodriguez were part of the country's silver-medal team.
The host cities for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Spain are expected to be announced in June 2017, but could provide an opportunity to be in Conde's hometown of Madrid or the Canary Islands where Rodriguez and Romero are from.