By Paul Giblin, PA International
UB Barcelona's Sandra Gallego believes the club have the perfect replacement for Bosnian Razija Brcaninovic in American Adrian Williams.
Brcaninovic left Barca following a very public bust-up with coach Carme Lluveras, and the team has since found life a lot tougher.
That was the case for the Catalans in the Copa de la Reina on Friday when they were forced to dig deep against Celta Banco in their quarter-final.
Trailing 41-31 at half-time, a dominant last quarter (21-9) saw them avoid an upset and reach the last four with a 73-67 win.
Williams was making her debut after arriving just 48 hours before the game, and scored 23 points and collected eight rebounds to earn high praise from team-mate Gallego.
|Valencia's Amaya Valdemoro believes rivals Barcelona are not as strong without Rajiza Brcaninovic (right)|
"She is a very intelligent player. She only got here two days ago and she has adapted perfectly and is going to be a real plus for us," said Gallego.
Ros Casares, aiming for a third Copa de la Reina triumph, next meet Barca after hammering Extrugosa 91-56. Ros Casares effectively put the game away in the first quarter, building 33-8 advantage.
Ros Casares forward Amaya Valdemoro, the sensational Spanish international, is hoping the absence of Brcaninovic will give them the edge over Barca.
"Without Brcaninovic their interior play is not as good," she said.
"Nevertheless, they are still dangerous and we really want to beat them."
The other semi-final pits together Caja Canarias against Perfumerias Avenida.
Canarias were never in serious trouble against PC Mendibil, winning 66-57, while Perfumerias Avenida got the sweet smell of victory after battling back from a 13-point deficit at the end of the first quarter against Puig d'en
Valls to win 70-64.
"We are playing well and we expected to win, although we didn't expect to suffer as much as we did. It's clear everything is very even," said Perfumerias' Spanish international guard, Nuria Martinez.