Anna Cruz, who has not yet turned 29, has become the first Catalan, and only the second Spaniard after Amaya Valdemoro, to win the WNBA after her team, Minnesota Lynx, defeated Indiana Fever 3-2 in the best-of-five final series to clinch the trophy.
Cruz started forging her career at the now defunct UB Barça, a joint venture involving FC Barcelona and the University of Barcelona. “It was at UB Barça that I learned the game” she says. “I arrived a girl and left as a woman.”
“I am so happy that I managed to make the most of all that experience” she continues. "Winning the WNBA is the reward for dedicating my whole life to basketball. I have had to make a whole lot of sacrifices to get here, but it was worth it. As a player, this is the biggest thing I could have aspired to. Winning the biggest league in the world is not something that’s easy to put into words.”
Cruz was just 16 when she first started training with the Barça women, but by 2004/05 she was a fully matured small forward and shooting guard. She had to compete with some fine colleagues like Helen Luz, Marta Fernández and Laura Antoja.
“I learned a lot from them” she remembers. “I have fond memories, although I was still very young. I always tried to watch the things that they did and I tried to absorb all the advice they gave me.”
And now it is she who giving advice to other young hopefuls, saying that “you should never stop working. Even when you feel you are in a rut, sooner or later life brings about rewards for those who make an effort.”