Ocete Is Oil In Spain Motor

18 July 2008

Looking at Gaby Ocete compete at the U20 European Championship for Women, it's not hard to tell that the Spanish point guard plays a crucial role in her team's push to the semi-finals.

The 20-year-old guides the deadly Spanish fast break, directs her team-mates in the half-court offense while also setting the example defensively by not allowing opposing guards to break her down.

Oh, and the Palma de Mallorca native is averaging 11 points and 3.2 rebounds per game to go with a tournament high 3.4 steals and a second-best 3.6 assists.

"I think that Gaby has provided a spark for the team regarding leadership. I think she is reading the floor really well. She knows when the team really needs to run or play a little more controlled," said Spanish assistant coach Cathy Boswell.

With Ocete as the motor, Spain advanced to the Pescara semi-finals with just one loss against Russia.

Ocete's showing is slowly making Spanish fans forget about the trio of stars missing from this U20 group as Tamara Abalde, Laura Nichols and Alba Torrens will be with the Spain senior national team at the Olympics.

"I'm really happy for them and wish them all the best. Having them play at the senior team really gives the rest of us hope that we can make it to the senior national team as well," said Ocete, who played most recently with the trio at the 2007 U19 World Championship for Women and the 2006 U18 European Championship for Women.

Ocete led the 2006 team in assists (3.0) and steals (1.6) while chipping in 4.3 points as Spain won the title. Last summer, the she was second on the team in assists and tops in steals. And she is excited about playing at the U20 level.

"This helps me to improve because you have to keep working hard. You have to keep your head in it. Nobody expected this team to be where we are today with the three of them gone. But I'm open to always learning more and trying to improve my game," she said.

Ocete has also had success at the club level. She played a major role in helping Cop Crespi - Joventud Mariana win promotion to Spanish top flight LFB for this season.

"That was a great experience to go to the championship at the end and get promoted. I'm looking forward to next year. And after eight months of hard work in getting to the LFB, I hope to be able to contribute in the big league," Ocete added.

Before that though, Ocete hopes to add a U20 title for some added - but not much needed - confidence.


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