Wins, Not Minutes Count For Ros Casares

31.03.2012

EUROLEAGUE WOMEN

Jeff Taylor

20. Sancho Lyttle (Ros Casares)
Sancho Lyttle has worked tirelessly under the basket for Ros Casares

Ros Casares are not short on talent, but that's just one of the reasons why coach Roberto Iniguez has been able to get to the title game of the EuroLeague Women.

Iniguez's players have checked their egos at the door and accepted roles not usually hoisted upon them.

Ros have had an all-star starting five at the Final Eight of Silvia Dominguez, Maya Moore, Lauren Jackson, Ann Wauters and Sancho Lyttle, and then a second all-star five coming off the bench in Jana Vesela, Isabelle Yacoubou, Laia Palau, Eshaya Murphy and Kata Honti.

Players that would start and play big minutes for many clubs in Europe have had to settle for less time on the court.

"Everyone's wings are clipped a little but that's what it takes to better the team and that's what we're willing to do right now," Murphy said.

Moore has been in this situation before.

She played on a star-studded United States national team at the World Championship two years ago and won the gold medal.

The minutes had to be shared then, too.

Moore says it is the strength of the Ros Casares team.

"Everybody has a great attitude," she said.

"There is a lot of talent on this team, and there can be a problem with minutes but people have been having a great attitude and coming in and producing when it's their time.

"The attitude that everybody has is you want to score 20 and stop your man every time."

While there is a benefit to having fresh legs, there is also the advantage of having a world class player on the bench that is mentally tough and can rescue a team.

That player was Czech Republic international Vesela on Thursday, when Sparta&K Moscow Region were threatening to open up a huge lead.

The Russian team drilled shot after shot and Ros Casares couldn't buy a basket, not even when wide open.

Iniguez inserted Vesela, normally a defensive stopper, into the game and she took responsibility, making important jump shots to steal some of the momentum from Sparta&K.

Vesela is a former EuroLeague and EuroBasket Women champion, and a silver-medal winner at the 2010 World Championship.

When the Sparta&K game was over, Vesela had made all four of her jumpers and scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds, handed out a couple of assists and come up with a steal.

"Jana Vesela is a very good player, but I think we have 10 very good players," Iniguez said.

"I think we have a lot of quality and my philosophy is that everyone provides for the team."

Moore agrees.

"That's what we try to use every game and I think it's what has helped us through the season," Moore said.

"To be able to bring people off the bench and still be confident and win games, that's what has been carrying us through."

Ros Casares didn't win the Copa de la Reina, the Spanish Queen's Cup, this month, losing in an upset to Perfumerias Avenida in the Final.

But if they win the EuroLeague, the Copa setback will be forgotten.

There is a belief among those in the Ros Casares side that the club should beat Spanish rivals Rivas Ecopolis and capture the coveted EuroLeague Women trophy.

"We have so many superstars in Ann Wauters, Lauren Jackson, Sancho Lyttle and on our bench are great players, too, like Kata Honti, Jana Vesela, myself included," Murphy said.

"It's just amazing.

"It's been difficult for everyone to learn their roles but any given night, our defense, our rotation and our bench is what makes us different.

"I just hope this is our time."


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