Irene Garrido: “I wanted to return to Spain and Almería has been the ideal place”
Ingenia Solar Energy Costa de Almería is in second position in Group A of LF2. Part of the blame for her good season lies with Irene Garrido, a 24-year-old player who, for the moment, had put her training before her career in basketball.
It may not be a well-known name, but Irene Garrido is averaging 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game in one of the leading teams in the competition. The woman from Granada is one of the stars of Ingenia Solar Energy Costa de Almería, in Final Phase positions with eight days to go before the conclusion of the Regular League.
Trained in Segle XXI, she debuted in LF2 almost 8 years ago – “Although now I feel much more comfortable on the pitch” – and opted for the American adventure. Four years in the NCAA with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and one more for a post-graduate Master’s degree in England. Now with the training completed “I wanted to go back to Spain, and one of the reasons was to play basketball here. I think that in Spain there is a vision in which intelligence matters more and that adapts better to my game.”
And he has come to Almería, very close to his native Granada, and to a club whose objective is “Keep working day by day to reach the Ascent Phase.” For this they have a vital game this Saturday against Vega Lagunera Adareva, leader of the group: “Our work routine is the same no matter who the weekend rival is, but we are very motivated with this game”.
Does the evaluation of the season have to be positive?
We are working very well, the results are accompanying us and we know that this is the path to follow. We had a bad run with negative results, but we have won four consecutive games and that has given us confidence in what we are doing.
You have beaten Vega Lagunera Adareva, CB Arxil… those from the upper zone, is that important?
It is important for possible tiebreakers and for the average; but it is also important to improve our self-confidence. If we can beat the top teams, it’s because we can beat anyone. This week the Vega Lagunera Adareva arrives in Almería. Our work routine is the same no matter who the weekend opponent is, but we are very motivated for this game.
For those who haven’t seen you play, how is basketball at Ingenia Solar Energy?
We are a team that is based on defense; we built our game from behind. In attack we like to play with short possessions and with a lot of outside shooting, although we are trying to balance our inside game. In the end, we are a defensive team and that is the hallmark.
And what is the goal of the season?
At first we weren’t very clear about how it was going to go, but after these months the classification is placing us in the upper zone, so the objective is to work to keep ourselves in these positions in the Promotion Phase. That is the challenge: keep working to reach the Final Phase.
Personally, how are you feeling?
The truth is that I am feeling very well. I have come to a team in which the coaching staff works a lot with the players technically and tactically so that you can improve as a player. They are giving me a lot of confidence and they don’t punish mistakes as much, which helps you feel comfortable on the court.
In junior you played in LF2 with Siglo XXI, how has the competition changed and how have you changed since then?
I find myself with a much higher point of experience and maturity. I feel much more comfortable playing basketball and I think I make better decisions.
How was your time in the United States?
It is a great experience. It’s been four different years than I could have lived here. On the subject of basketball, I have found a totally different vision of this sport. I have also returned with the Mathematics career. I then spent a year doing a Masters in England to complete my studies. That experience has helped me to know better what I wanted.
And what does basketball give you?
I wanted to go back to Spain, and one of the reasons was to play basketball here. I think there is a vision here where intelligence matters more and that suits my game better. I think I will continue playing basketball because it is what I like, both for what it gives me on the court and everything it gives me off it. Right now my goal is to continue working and whatever comes.
There are more and more women’s professional teams in Andalusia. That is always good news for Andalusian players…
Definitely. Here in Almería, both the first team and the academy are working very well, which in the end is the future of everything. Also in my land, in Granada, a very good job is being done and I hope it goes well at the end of the season.