Ros Casares are not going to be in the best state of mind when they arrive at UMMC Ekaterinburg this week.
The Valencia outfit that blew out TTT Riga by 80 points in their opening EuroLeague Women game suffered a recent defeat at Cras Basket Taranto in Europe and over the weekend, Halcon Avenida brought an end to Ros' 19-month unbeaten run at home when a late Le Coe Willingham basket gave the Salamanca side a 79-78 triumph.
|Isma Cantó has Amaya Valdemoro back but could not be satisfied with the loss against Salamanca|
"On their last possession, we weren't able to defend the shot, and a good run that had lasted for a long time came to an end," said Ros Casares coach Isma Canto.
Avenida were careful not to celebrate too much.
"We are not going to get overexcited because in sport, you play two bad games and everything is over," Avenida coach Jordi Fernandez said.
"I am delighted to have beaten Ros on their own court but I know that in sport, you have to be humble and we must remain with our feet on the ground.
"We had an opportunity, we took advantage of it but we must continue."
Ros came into the season as the team to beat.
Now others, and not just Avenida, are stealing the headlines in Spain.
Rivas Ecopolis are in the EuroLeague Women for the first time and have yet to lose after seven games.
The coach of Rivas, Javier Fort, is still having to pinch himself after his team's brilliant start.
"We have surpassed our aims with flying colors," Fort said.
"At the beginning of the EuroLeague, we started with the idea of doing well, enjoying the experience, playing good basketball and competing to progress to the second phase of the competition.
"Now the team is ambitious in trying to overcome the next round.
"We don't renounce to anything, and it would be brilliant to reach the Quarter-Finals and even reach the Final Four."
Rivas had nothing to lose and everything to gain this season.
While Ros Casares entered the competition with pressure to reach the Final Four and hoping to win it, and with Avenida also looking to return to the Semi-Finals, Rivas were able to relax without the weight of expectations.
Maybe the best thing for Rivas is to just to keep playing hard and having fun.
"More than trying to demand, what we want to do is to continue to grow and improve," Fort said.
"We know we don't have any pressure from the club because everyone knows where we came from and how difficult it is to do what this team has achieved.
"Having already qualified (for the Eighth-Final Play-offs), our aim is to have the home-court advantage for the next round and it's likely that with seven wins, we will have that.
"Then we will have to continue to work hard to achieve something historic."
The players of Rivas do not seem to be getting carried away by their current position.
"Not even the most optimistic could think we would be 6-0," said Rivas' Clara Bermejo.
|Clara Bermejo Moreno keeps her team mates happy with plenty assists every game.|
"In each game we play, our aim is to give our best.
"But we have to be realistic and know that our group is not the strongest and that in another group, we could have finished second or third. Our level is similar to that of Salamanca, and they are second in their group."
If Ros Casares are looking for something to pin their hopes on, they have several possibilities.
The team has as much talent as any team in Europe, and maybe they simply haven't peaked.
The team had to integrate Becky Hammon into the side after she signed following the start to the season, and Amaya Valdemoro is still getting back into game shape.
If Valdemoro can hit top form, there is no better player in Europe.
Clearly this is a challenging time for them.
While Halcon Avenida host MiZo Pecs and undefeated Rivas travel to Slovakia to take on Good Angels Kosice, Ros face a hard trip to Ekaterinburg, Russia, to go up against UMMC.
Ros won their home leg against UMMC, 87-68, but that was on November 11 when the Russian team didn't have France point guard Celine Dumerc, who was recovering from injury.
Valdemoro was also sidelined for that game.
Gundars Vetra, the UMMC coach who is going to decide in the new year if he will take the reins of the Latvia men's national team, is fully focused on beating Ros.
UMMC have won all of their games at home this season in the EuroLeague Women by an average of 25 points and he would like nothing more than to put up a big number against Canto's team.
Then again, Vetra just wants to see how UMMC will do now that they have all of their players.
"The game against Taranto last week was the first that we were able to play with our full roster," said Vetra.
"Now we are trying to have balance in our offense."