The third time was the charm. After two consecutive years falling in the NCAA quarterfinals, Maite Cazorla has become the first Spanish athlete -female and male- to compete Final Four University of the United States with the Oregon Ducks, after he managed to beat the Missisippi Bulldogs last Sunday, thanks in large part to a triple of the Gran Canaria base 35 seconds from the end of the match that meant the sentence of the same.
The insular player has written her name with golden letters in the history of the basketball Spanish. Memory will remind you how the first player who crossed the barrier of Elite Eight and was able to contest the final round for the American university degree. An opportunity that also escaped two other times to the also Gran Canaria Leticia Romero with the University of Florida (Seminoles).
A pass that is the first of the University of Oregon and that was created thanks to the temperance of Gran Canaria at the hot moment of the game. The play, as described by Cazorla, was done because "he had the ball Sabrina [Ionescu] because he was going to make a one-on-one, "which caused him to get help to his defender, and to bend the ball to the Canarian, who without hesitation put his arm together."When I threw only I could think that please be inside"And so it was, it sounded choff.
Cazorla was the one who monopolized the spotlights of the night and for a moment could be at the height of Ionescu, the player who is assumed the next number 1 of the draft and who the island says to feel "proud" of sharing clothes with she for three years because "it's just the best one I've played with".
On the possibility that the island can enter the next draft of the WNBA, is aware that it may be one of the chosen to enter the best league in the world. "I know there are possibilities, but now I prefer to be focused on Final Four"Step by step at all times.
The Canarian also adds that she does not prefer not to think beyond the final phase, without the summer occupying her time in her ideas. "Now my goals are to graduate and earn the title with the University, then time will tell."
Because now that he is going to play the final round he has managed to get rid of the thorn that was stuck in him. "Two years ago we were not prepared to arrive; Uconn (Connecticut) passed over us [52-90] and we did not deserve to pass, "reflects Cazorla, who also believes that losing in 2018" hurt him enough "because" I thought we deserved to go to the Final Four. "That year he lost against Notre Dame by 74-84 because for the Canary Islands , his team was not "concentrated 40 minutes".
Precisely the fullness of the game against Mississippi what Cazorla completed. Something almost unthinkable in the basketball European. "It's surprising, but hey, I take it as the coach is quite confident in me and that's why I spent 40 minutes on the court", highlights the Canary Islands.
As for the objective that is marked once arrived at the Final Four, to which his parents will go from the Islands to see her play Friday against Baylor University, is to win the NCAA trophy. "Since we are here, then the real objective is to earn it", although it is also prudent for" the difficulty "that involves playing against the four best teams in the country.
Regarding if she has coincided with Iris Mbulito, another of the Canarian players who are in a US university, (Arizona State) confirmed that they met in Portland during the dispute of the phase of the Sweet-sixteen (Round of 16) when Mbulito's team fell precisely against Mississippi. "It's a joy when you can see a Spaniard here, because when I do it with a Canary is even more special," he says with joy.
The same one that showed during the celebration of having beat Missisipi at the Moda Center - a pavilion in which the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA are also playing - and that upon returning from the team to Eugene, a surprise was going to come together. "We took the bus back home and there we were waiting for more people who wanted to celebrate the pass to the Final Four"explains Cazorla laughing.
Of course, a momentary joy. "We stayed with them for a while, but then we went home quickly, and the next day we had to go to class," says the Gran Canaria.
Some classes that have immersed Cazorla in the university psychology degree and in which he is about to conclude in his last academic year. "The studies are going very well for me, here they give you all the facilities so that you can combine sport and studies, which is very different from Spain," says the base.
Because for the athlete to be comfortable in both areas, the American universities "plan everything so that life in the classes and in training adapt to perfection," underlines the Canary Islands.
Although yes, What is certain is that if the WNBA train does not pass, his decision will be to return to the Island to enjoy his family. "The earliest would be in June, so there is little to know what will happen," says the legend, Maite Cazorla.