Ramiro's smile

Movistar Estudiantes disputes the second Copa de la Reina in its history 16 years after its debut. Uni Girona will be his rival this Thursday.


The Movistar Estudiantes has a recurring joy in recent years in its warriors, in its Women in Black. Win or lose, whether they are in the elite or in the Second Division, they always keep the battle-hardened and fighting gene unchanged. Pure DNA in the Ramiro that this season has been unleashed and is bearing unthinkable fruits in summer: of ascending to the second Copa de la Reina in its history, which takes place from Thursday to Sunday at La Fonteta in Valencia.

An appointment that they attend as fourth with 16 wins out of 25 possible, only behind the ogres of women's basketball in Spain: Perfumerías Avenida, Valencia and Uni Girona. The Catalans, leaders awaiting the two postponed matches of the Salamancans, are their rivals in the quarterfinals (17:30). A marvelous feat.

"We are very happy with how things are going because aspiring higher is impossible. It seems like an achievement to go to the Cup when last year we were in League 2. Making a team in the middle of a pandemic is not easy, with many unknowns, bets… and seeing that all that has turned out well makes you very excited about this award ", assures AS Alberto Ortego (Madrid, 1971). The current college coach was the commander of that surprise appearance in the 2005 Cup. It is not the only coincidence. The headquarters were the same and the rival, the CBF Universitari de Barcelona, had the same designation of origin.

Both Students are also quite similar. "The 2005 team was a bit similar in their way of playing. It was not planned to go to the Cup. We got seventh on the penultimate day and it was a rush. He will remember it all his life," recalls the coach, who has changed to Silvia Domínguez, Kate Starbird, Jenny Benningfield, Sonia Blanco… by Arica Carter, María Espín, Antonye Nyingifa, Leslie Knight and company. The last, the heir to the great captain Mariana González, will not be with the rest of her companions: both she and Jana Raman miss the Valencia party because of COVID-19.

COVID and the illusion of the Cup

The disease has hit the Ramireñas hard since the beginning of 2021. They could only play two games in January, with a 21-day break between the last of December (Campus Promete) and the first of the year (Cheeses The Shepherd). And another of 13 from January 29 (Cadí La Seu) to February 11 (IDK). In the last week they have played three: Gran Canaria, Al-Qázeres and Casademont Zaragoza. The result, two victories, the last one very convincing against the Aragonese: 83-54. “We have to live it now. There are few training sessions, but it does not serve as an excuse or complaint: it is what it is, "says Ortego.

The Madrilenian has changed in "gray hair, kilos and experience" in these 16 years that go from one Cup to another, although the game proposal "is similar." "Over the years, you clarify, but the global vision is quite similar. You manage problems in another way, you are less vehement ... but I maintain the same illusion," says the one who was Luis Casimiro's assistant with the boys in the 2008 season. 09. Ortego is the landmark man at Estu: He also guided the girls' first promotion in 2002 and the only two playoff appearances. This course will be the third. The party does not stop at the Ramiro fields.

Photos from as.com
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