Dominguez, Basko Remember Remarkable Night

12 February 2009

Most Halcon Avenida basketball games in Salamanca are memorable experiences for the players and fans.

The club's double overtime triumph last week against CSKA which put the Spanish team into the Quarter-Finals of the EuroLeague Women play-offs will certainly never be forgotten.

Silvia Dominguez, the MVP of the U20 European Championship for Women two years in Sofia, Bulgaria, after leading Spain to gold, is still buzzing about the win.

"We knocked out CSKA Moscow and we have qualified for the EuroLeague Quarter-finals for the first time in the club´s history," Dominguez said.

"This is my third year in the city and it has been the most beautiful game I have experienced here.

"We have not won a title and perhaps some people think, ‘what is the fuss about?'.

"But to beat a team like CSKA in a wonderful atmosphere will live with me for the rest of my life."

Twice Avenida had to hit three-pointers to force the extra periods.

Belgium international and EuroLeague Women All-Star Anke De Mondt knocked down one late in regulation, and then Donnette Snow buried another with just four seconds to go in the first overtime to tie the game again and keep Avenida alive.

"Against CSKA, we believed until the last second," Dominguez said.

"But the faith and the effort placed by the team and by the coaching staff meant we deserved to experience something great.

"It was a nerve-wracking game, when you are about to lose and you have eight seconds left and need a perfect play or more like a miracle. In your head and your body, there is absolutely no calmness."

Dominguez said the thrill surpassed what she experienced two summers ago in Bulgaria with her national team.

"I think that not even when I won the U20 European Championship did I felt such emotion after the game had ended," she said.

All of the Avenida players were in the clouds after the triumph, including Latvia point guard Günta Basko.

She spoke about the incredible game to and offered an opinion that not many people would disagree with on Salamanca's supporters.

"I have no doubt - fans in Salamanca are the best in Spain," she said.

"Maybe in all of Europe ... the support is huge!

"I am happy every time I get an opportunity to play in a gym full of spectators. Some visit practices, some bring candies and gifts."

Just seconds away from bowing out of the competition, Agenda are now in the last eight and to make it even sweeter for the fans, the club has home-court advantage in the best-of-three series which tips off next week.

"Pecs is a solid team with traditions rooted in the history of the Euroleague Women," Basko said.

"Although we have battled them in the group stage, we must fight and bring all our strength to get through."

An indication of just how important the home-court advantage is for Agenda is a look at their two regular-season games against MiZo Pecs.

The Spanish opened the Euroleague Women campaign with an 82-65 defeat in Hungary to MiZo but when the two sides played again in Salamanca, Avenida rolled to an 83-60 triumph.

Dominguez knows that Avenida must now try to focus on MiZo and forget, if only for a little while, the remarkable triumph over CSKA.

"We must leave that behind," she said in her blog on

"We must only remember it to know that with effort and fighting spirit, we achieved that day something unthinkable and that ahead of us there are many unthinkable tasks that we want and we will try to achieve."

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