7 Alba Torrens (UMMC)
10/12/2018
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Power Rankings: Are UMMC, Dynamo Kursk and Bourges Basket a top three lock this season?

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - The top three of our EuroLeague Women Power Rankings have held their spots this week and we're wondering if this trio of clubs are a podium lock this season?

With UMMC Ekaterinburg, Dynamo Kursk and Bourges Basket on the top three steps, here is how the latest full suite of rankings look heading into Week 6. 

RANK

CLUB

MOVE

 

1

UMMC Ekaterinburg -  That sensational overtime game last week almost resulted in UMMC being knocked off top spot for the first time this season. While they lost a double-digit lead and were almost toppled, they showed they could get it done under pressure. That in itself was double joy for Miguel Mendez. His team not only won, but finally had a big test and they passed it. Brittney Griner had her best game  in a while and now it is back on the road against Schio and the center will get to go up against her former Ekaterinburg teammate, Sandrine Gruda in a key matchup. Courtney Vandersloot will also be back at her old employers too and she was great last week with 9 dimes. As of course, is the case with Coach Mendez.

2

Dynamo Kursk - It was always going to be a test in Sopron and in a common theme this season, Kursk came good in the final quarter to seal the deal to keep their perfect run going. The positives were the defense, Tina Charles and showing they can win a difficult game without a contribution from Breanna Stewart. Now what a game on Wednesday! Lucas Mondelo is back in his homeland to face Avenida where he won that famous EuroLeague Women title 7 years ago. It will be a return for Marta Xargay too, who is another favorite. The home side will look to keep the energy high and there will be quite some atmosphere to enjoy!

 

Bourges Basket - Yes, they lost, but how can we punish Bourges by dropping them down after that overtime treat against UMMC? They showed they can stand toe to toe against the silverware holders, suggesting strongly they have the skill, teamwork and mental toughness to compete for a Final Four spot. What is important now is that they underline this with no slip-up at Castors Braine. The good thing is that it is not all about Marine Johannes, since the Canadian duo Katherine Plouffe and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe are on-song and Bourges will surely move to 4-2.

ZVVZ USK Praha - After that loss in Ekaterinburg, it was back to business for Praha who owned Castors Braine from the tip-off. It was one-sided, comprehensive and in Alyssa Thomas, have the Czech giants landed the best off-season signing of this past summer? It will be a different kind of test at an up and down ESBVA-LM this week, but if they keep shooting well and Thomas remains unstoppable, a road win looks more likely than not. Even if you can never fully write off ESBVA-LM!

Perfumerias Avenida - It was a tough loss to Sopron in their last home game and now they have a massive challenge to enjoy the rarest of things these days - successive losses at Pabellon Wurzburg. With Coach Mondelo bringing Kursk to town, the game will have an added dimension, when in terms of the basketball itself, look out for them trying to get out in transition and focusing on keeping Kursk off that offensive glass. With all this in mind, it is good for Avenida they racked up that comprehensive win at Carolo Basket last week to get back on track.

TTT Riga - They're flying aren't they? Yes, it was against the winless Olympiacos last week, but to have a 3-2 record after these first five games of their long-awaited return to the competition is hugely impressive. Next up? Fenerbahce. What a game and the pressure is all on the visitors. Coach Zibarts will know his team are going to have to really crank up the perimeter defense for example, and there is also the question of what happens to Riga when Shey Peddy has a slump. But it's such an enjoyable ride for them, who cares? They must just keep enjoying it!

Fenerbahce - There was  relief for Fenerbahce last week as they beat Hatay at the third attempt this season (in all competitions). Cecilia Zandalsini was shooting well, the energy levels looked up, there were smiles, passion and a glimpse of the possibilities for Fenerbahce who are now 3-2. This is  now the perfect test for them against Riga in what is possibly a statement game. If they are on the up, feeling good and want to be a power again, you don't lose games like this. It is a test and could  be highly entertaining to watch,

Sopron Basket - It was back down to earth for Sopron as they were eventually eased out by Kursk - despite posting at least three nice quarters of basketball. Now they find themselves staring down the barrel of a 2-4 start. As they won at Avenida recently, they will be undaunted by the Hatay clash. Both teams are in the bottom four for rebounding which is interesting and they might look to capitalize on the hosts being poor from the free-throw line. It feels like the time for the fabulous Aleksandra Crvendakic to come alive and also Angela Salvadores as a lot has rested on the shoulders of Amanda Zahui, Candice Dupree and Yvonne Turner so far. Maybe that is why the club has announced a new arrival in Queralt Casas!

CCC Polkowice - It was a grind against Famila Schio, but just like the previous week at ESBVA-LM, Coach Kovacik can be satisfied with his teams defensive qualities and the character to get the result in crunch time. There are still some offensive shortcomings to be mindful of as they are still not breaking 60 points per game, but after a 0-2 start, it's three wins on the bounce! This next matchup looks tricky as Nadezhda are also on a little run and looking to go three in a row, so it's dangerous!

10

 

Hatay - It continues to be an up and down season after that loss at Fenerbahce last week which leaves them at 2-3. It was easy to forgive them for the setback as they had already beaten the Istanbul juggernauts twice this season.  This meeting with Sopron feels fundamental to the direction of travel for both clubs. It could be an exciting one and not least as Glory Johnson looks to haunt her national team playcaller in the shape of Montenegro head coach., Roberto Iniguez. 

11

 

Nadezhda - So you lose three games to start the season and then you deliver back-to-back victories to start moving right up our power rankings. It was a nice victory for Nadezhda against ESBVA-LM  in terms of the margin of the win and the control they showed. When Brionna 'Double-Double' Jones drops anchor and then Sandra Ygueravide and Erica Wheeler are pulling the strings, they suddenly look a very capable unit indeed. This Polkowice game looks perfect for them in terms of it being relatively well-matched on paper. Play well, and especially continue to smash that offensive glass and they might just be 3-3! That would be quite something after their nightmare start. 

12

Carolo Basket - If you pardon the joke, the season of Carolo could be bursting into flames! They are now 2-3 which is not a disaster of course, but they were heavily beaten by Avenida, have dispensed with Queralt Casas who had been flying and the parting of ways is now also followed by the terrible news that French international Kadidia Minte will not return from injury as expected after a setback in her rehab.  They do have the veteran Geraldine Robert back and they also do have a game against the winless Olympiacos as they look to recover from this big wobble. Easier said than done!  At least they did win in the French League over the weekend.

13

ESBVA-LM  - Head coach Fred Dusart suggested he didn't recognize his team at Nadezhda last week. And, they were very poor. There is no hiding place for this as they fell to 2-3 after not even hitting 50 points. Lying in wait are Prague, who visit Villeneuve and will smell blood in the water and a chance to go 5-1. Worryingly for the hosts who have not looked after the ball well, Prague are potent in taking fast-break chances. Somebody is going to have to shackle Alyssa Thomas who is unstoppable at the moment. The difference in offensive output is huge at 58 versus 76! Thankfully some confidence came back to ESBVA-LM via a domestic victory.

14

Castors Braine - It is going rapidly downhill for the Belgian club as they dropped to 1-4 and that opening day victory back in October feels a long time ago. Their capitulation was almost instant in Prague last week. While they did improve after their shocking first half, it was hard to tell whether that was down to their own work or their opponents easing off the gas. A monster game on the glass by Celeste Trahan-Davis was one positive,  but it's looking gloomy. Not least as they welcome Bourges next who might have lost last week, but are still on a high. They're going to have to dictate the tempo and stop Bourges getting too much in transition. 

15

Famila Schio - Who would want to be Pierre Vincent right now? His team are 0-5 after losing at CCC Polkowice and guess what? It is UMMC in town next and so 0-6 looks more of a possibility than not. It was the same old story in the loss to CCC last week, with debutante Allie Quigley hitting a couple of triples, but her teammates a rotten 0-of-11 combined from long rage. We agree with Coach Vncent that his team did actually play better overall, so there is some light. But something remarkable will have to happen for them to slow down Ekaterinburg this week. There is also the added factor that Miguel Mendez is back at his old club with UMMC too!

16

Olympiacos - The EuroLeague Women rookies are finding it a tough initiation and slumped to a fifth defeat of their maiden campaign last week as they crashed against TTT Riga. There were few high points and once again, there was nobody stepping up as second or third scorers. They shot 28% and scored only 51 points at home. The killer for them is that they are just not finishing around the bucket with a terrible 37.6%. It looks bleak, but opportunity knocks. They head to Carolo Basket this week and the French side are in disarray. Could a historic first Regular Season win be on the cards - even with weak offense?

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and in no way a true, accurate ranking system. All comments are purely those of the author(s).

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