By Jeff Taylor
Alba Torrens had good games and bad games last year in the EuroLeague Women.
That should come as no surprise.
She was a 20-year-old cutting her teeth in the toughest women's basketball league in the world with Halcon Avenida.
Diana Taurasi, maybe the greatest EuroLeague Women player of all time and the MVP of the last two Final Fours with Spartak Moscow Region, was in college basketball at the University of Connecticut when she was 20 years of age.
Her best years were ahead of her.
Yes, the best of Torrens is still to come.
"It wasn't easy last season for me because it was my first year in the EuroLeague Women," Torrens said to Basketball World News.
"It takes time to adapt.
"The games are much tougher and you need to raise your game because you are facing the very best in the game.
"I need to grow as a player but also within the team."
Torrens, who didn't take much time off after last season because of her national team commitments with Spain, readily accepts that she has a long way to go in the game.
This season is like every other that she has played.
She will listen, watch and learn, and do what she's told.
"I still don't know what my role will be but I hope to give my best and try to do the things the coach requires of me," she said.
One thing is certain.
Torrens did take a huge step forward in her career last season at Avenida.
Being a teammate of someone like Isa Sanchez, Sancho Lyttle and Silvia Dominguez, and taking on very talented opponents, will only make a player better.
"I learned a lot from playing the EuroLeague last season," Torrens said.
"When you play with and against great players, it just makes you improve."
Getting Better Every Season
Torrens says she has improved at every level of competition.
She excelled with Spain's youth teams.
Torrens impressed so much that Spain included her in their 2008 Olympic squad.
Her transition game is better than it once was, as is her shooting and defense.
Every aspect of Torrens' game has gotten better.
"The biggest difference that I have noticed in my development throughout the years is that I am able to read the games better," she said.
"Although I still make mistakes, you can always improve on certain aspects, like defense, rebounds and try to limit the mistakes you make."
The Medals Keep Coming
Torrens captured medals as a youth team player with Spain, but now has two straight with the senior team.
Last year, she captured a bronze at the EuroBasket Women in Riga and only last weekend, Torrens won another at the FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic.
"It was my first World Championship so to win a medal is more than I could have asked for," she said.
"It was a new experience for me.
"To have played at that level, against good teams, helps you learn new things and improve as a player."
Her attention right now is on basketball in Spain's domestic competitions, and Europe.
On Friday, Halcon Avenida will play in the Supercopa against Ros Casares.
"I'm delighted with the players that have arrived to the team," she said.
"(Former Ros Casares players) Erika de Souza, Anna Montanana and Belinda Snell have a lot of experience and talent.
"We have covered all of our positions and that is important.
"I think we have a great group but we have to work hard because the league starts soon and then the EuroLeague Women will be around the corner.
"The basis is there to do well this season but we have to come together and make sure we get synergy.
As for the EuroLeague Women opponents, Torrens said: "Our group is by no means easy. We have the defending champions Spartak, the French champions Tarbes among other strong rivals.
"We have to take it one game at a time, give our best knowing that we can lose a game but we can bounce back in the next one."