Ros Casares are one of the hottest teams in the world of women's basketball, and veteran forward Delisha Milton-Jones is a big reason why.
The USA international, whose fine play helped Ros reach the 2007 EuroLeague Women final in Vidnoje, Russia, decided to extend her stay in beautiful Valencia and has no regrets - neither on the court, nor off it.
She spoke to FIBA Europe ahead of this week's final Group D game against MiZo Pecs in Spain.
FIBA Europe: Delisha, what an unbelievable season you and your teammates are having right now at Ros Casares. Ros won 23 straight games in all competitions before losing over the weekend in
the Liga Femenina. Will that setback have an impact on the team?
|Coach Manolo Real has Ros Casares running on all cylinders.|
Delisha Milton-Jones: "I hope that this defeat will affect the team in a positive way. To go so many games undefeated was something no one expected. We just wanted to go and play every game as hard as we possibly could. We hope that this defeat will give us a new-found energy and hunger going into the EuroLeague play-offs and the rest of the season."
FIBA Europe: We watched you and Ros Casares play last year at the EuroLeague Women Final Four and honestly wondered if your team could get better, but it does seem to have improved. Do you believe Ros Casares is a much better team now?
Delisha Milton-Jones: "I think we are a better team as far as the mentality of the players that we have. Everyone is able to come out and take over a game on any given day. I think that was the goal of the general manager when she put this team together this year, to have killers in every position on the basketball floor. I am just hoping we can continue to grow and gel together as a team coming into the EuroLeague play-offs."
FIBA Europe: How much of a benefit was it for you to remain at the same club for another year?
Delisha Milton-Jones: "I think it was a great move for me. Usually I change from year to year. This contract gave me a sense of security and I didn't have to worry about learning a brand new system, getting to know 10 other new players. It just makes things easier and you feel more comfortable in a situation like this. Would I do the same in the future? I don't know, but doing it this time has left a really good taste in my mouth."
FIBA Europe: And what can you tell me about coach Manolo Real? Has he improved this season now that he has a year of experience under his belt?
Delisha Milton-Jones: "Definitely. Real has done a tremendous job of studying the game and improving from last season. I know it was a large bill to pay for him to come back this year and meet the expectations created from last year. He has done that, he has fulfilled that obligation. He is a type of coach who is passionate and very energetic. He only demands that each player gives 100% while on the floor and I don't think his philosophy is any different from any other coach. I like a coach like Manolo Real because he challenges me on a daily basis, he respect players and demands respect back and that is something that I really like about him."
FIBA Europe: Okay Delisha, now is the time to make all of your friends back in America jealous. What is the best part of living in Valencia? Is it living close to the sea, or the food?
Delisha Milton-Jones: "Both! Valencia is a very beautiful city. It's very nice on the eyes, the weather is fantastic. Just the other day we arrived from Lithuania and it was so cold in Vilnius and once we arrived back to Valencia the sun was shining, it was maybe 70 degrees outside. I just couldn't believe how nice it was and when you are in a situation like this, it makes living so much easier. I know a lot of players, when looking at women's basketball, they say if you want to make the money you need to go to Russia and this and that. Well, Russia is great but the living part of it is very difficult. But here in Valencia you can get the best of both worlds - a good team and a good life."
FIBA Europe: And also, Delisha, for the basketball fans out there who want to know a little more about you - what's been the best movie you have watched lately?
Delisha Milton-Jones: "My team-mate Katie Douglas, she always teases me saying that I don't watch enough movies and that I'm not a normal American because I'm never up to date with recent movies. I would have to say American Gangster. During the Christmas holidays my husband and I went to London instead of going back to the United States and we were able to watch some American movies while we were there. So American Gangster is my favorite recent film. Because basketball is our number one priority, you will usually find us in the gym early in the mornings or late at night, or at the spa trying to do things to relax ourselves or do things to prepare for the week ahead."
FIBA Europe: We're happy to have caught up with you. Best of luck with the season and we'll come to Spain and visit some time.
Delisha Milton-Jones: "Thanks. We will save you some Paella!"