Not too long ago, on April 10, 2011, Salamanca became the European capital of women's basketball. That day, the Perfumerías Avenida conquered the Euroleague and put an end to almost two decades of absence of Spanish teams in the continental track record, since the pioneers of the Dorna Godella were proclaimed champions in 1992 and 1993. In 2012, the success was more and Spain boasted of the first European final of its history with the duel between Rivas Ecópolis and Ros Casares. However, after that milestone and the immediate disappearance of the luxurious Valencian project, the league went into a deep depression. With the sponsorship of Dia until 2020 and the boost of the Federation in the wake of the successes of the selection –six consecutive medals between Europeans, Games and World Championships– the path of reconstruction has been undertaken.
For the second consecutive season -the last course in Magariños and this one in Torrejón de Ardoz-, the Liga Dia meets in the Open Day to the 14 participating teams in the competition to play the first day in a single pavilion, between yesterday and today, as a striking staging and visibility claim. "It seems that the great blip has been overcome and it is also the time of the woman", explains Laia Palau, who emigrated in 2012 after raising the Euroleague with the Ros and now returns to the league with Uni Girona. "The support and resources put us on the road to get closer to the competition we were, but we are far from those golden years in which there were two or three Spanish teams in the European elite," continues the captain of the selection. "Then, the foreigners in the league were WNBA players and the Europeans were real stars. Miss those big names, "says the international Silvia Dominguez, referring to the Perfumeries Avenue.
The president of the Salamanca club, Jorge Recio, focuses the debate. "We can not compete with the wages paid in Russia and Turkey. Now when they are born or they become the great players they go away because it is where they see the future. In addition, the youngest want to go to the United States for the professional and study project that accompanies sports, "says Recio. The Perfumeries, the biggest budget of the Liga Dia with 1.1 million euros, is only the budget "12 or 13 of the Euroleague", according to its president. This season, in the Spanish league will be only five of the 12 bronze medalists in the World of Tenerife (Silvia Domínguez, Laura Gil and Belén Arrojo -in Salamanca-, and Laia Palau and Bea Sánchez -in Girona-). "The good foreigners of the big teams of the Euroleague are five times the salary," says Palau. "Hopefully our return to the league has a called effect. But to players like Alba [Torrens], who are at the highest point of their careers, there is no team here that can sign them. Not only for money, but also for a sports project ", adds Domínguez.
Cadi la Seu-Ensino (82-71)
Valencia-P. Avenue (57-69)
Sant Adriá-Gernica (13.15)
Mann-Filter-Uni Girona (16.30)
The matches take place in the Jorge Garbajosa pavilion in Torrejón de Ardoz.
As an example of his words, the giant Yekaterinburg – with an average of 12 million euros of budget these years thanks to the support of UMMC, the largest copper producer in Russia – paid in recent seasons to its franchise player, Diana Taurasi, near 900,000 euros per year, which rose to 1.5 million in 2015, as an irrevocable offer for the US star to play only with them and renounce that course to the WNBA.
However, with the economic recovery, the appearance of Day as title sponsor and of Teledeporte as a television platform, the league, which came down from 14 to 11 teams in the 2012-13 academic year, looks to the future with optimism. "The selection is born from here and the medals of the training categories are the proof that this is not a one day flower or the fruit of a generation", analyzes the president of the Federation, Jorge Garbajosa. "The selection is second in the world ranking and, in the medium term, we want to be among the European leagues of reference", he adds. "There is no closed investment but a growing commitment by the league. The quality is there, we have to make it visible, "adds Nieves Álvarez, director of External Relations for Dia. "Basketball is the sport with the most licenses for women in Spain (118,260, according to data from the 2017 CSD) and deserves to have an impact. It is necessary that the political push be at the height of the social movement ", Recio remarks.
The data confirm that Salamanca has ceased to be a island in the Spanish league. The Uni Girona project has already reached the level of one million euros. Adding the double sponsorship of Spar and Citylift, who share the naming of the team, and that of the institutions, the Catalan club presents itself as the great alternative of power after three consecutive runners-up. "In the selection a line of structure, work and professionalism has been marked. Now La Liga Day is experiencing another big push. Things are moving, "closes Palau.