EuroLeague Women All-Time Leaders: Steals
MUNICH (Germany) - The penultimate episode of our series looking at the modern history EuroLeague Women all-time leading players has dropped and it's all about the steal merchants this time.
We've already revealed the all-time leading scorers, all-time leading rebounders and the all-time assists leaders. Now it's time to check out who's had their hand in the cookie jar the most down the years.
10. Audrey SAURET-GILLESPIE - 336 steals
Birth Date: October 31, 1976
Height: 1.78m (5ft 10in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: US Valenciennes Olympic (FRA); Bourges Basket (FRA); UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS); Famila Schio (ITA)
Games Played: 173
Statistics: 10.3 PTS, 2.9 REB, 3.9 AST
The influence of Sauret-Gillespie, who won two titles at US Valenciennes Olympic, is indicated by the fact that she finds herself in this top 10 list for steals, having also made the all-time assists chart. It's little wonder she got to play in the WNBA and excelled for France in so many editions of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket Women, became an Olympian and was captain of her country at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in 2006.
9. Zuzana ZIRKOVA - 339 steals
Birth Date: June 6, 1980
Height: 1.75m (5ft 9in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Delta Management Lokomotiva (SVK); SCP Ruzomberok (SVK); Gysev Ringa Sopron (HUN); Gambrinus Brno (CZE); UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS); Good Angels Kosice (SVK)
Games Played: 227
Statistics: 10.6 PTS, 3.1 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.5 STL
While largely renowned for her scoring exploits which witnessed her make the all-time top 10 for points in the competition, the Slovakian legend reminds us all that she was a power at both ends of the floor. Zirkova didn't just bring her magical offensive touch, but was also a defensive force too with her reading of the game and her quick hands. Those qualities helped her get crowned a three-time champion, finishing top of the podium in 1999 and 2000 with SCP Ruzomberok and then also taking a winners' medal while at Gambrinus Sika Brno in 2006.
8. Romana HAMZOVA - 350 steals
Birth Date: August 17, 1970
Height: 1.76m (5ft 9in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Gambrinus Brno (CZE)
Games Played: 124
Statistics: 7.3 PTS, 4.4 REB, 3.6 AST, 2.8 STL
It's quite a feat that the Czech guard is able to make it into the top 10 and even climb to 8th place, since incredibly, she only played 124 EuroLeague Women games and that is considerably less than any of her peers in the list. Consequently, she averaged an eye-popping average of almost three steals per game - all of which were snapped up wearing a Gambrinus Brno vest. Hamzova also played three times at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket and became an Olympian in 2004.
7. Amaya VALDEMORO - 369 steals
Birth Date: August 18, 1976
Height: 1.83m (6ft 10in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Pool Getafe (ESP); Ros Casares (ESP); BC Volgaburmash / CSKA (RUS); Rivas Ecopolis (ESP); Tarsus (TUR)
Games Played: 172
Statistics: 13.3 PTS, 4.0 REB, 2.0 AST, 2.1 STL
For more than a decade, Valdemoro was one of the most instantly recognizable faces of the women's game - a major star in Spain, in Europe and globally. It's little surprise that her neverending reserves of energy and intensity means that she was able to squeeze out so many steals during her stellar career. She may not have won a EuroLeague Women title, but she was a three-time WNBA winner and collected plenty of medals with Spain. This included winning the FIBA Women's EuroBasket in 2013, while she competed at no fewer than four FIBA Women's World Championships and appeared at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
6. Jurgita STREIMIKYTE- 373 steals
Birth Date: May 14, 1972
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: US Valenciennes Olympic (FRA); Societa Ginnastica (ITA); Euroleasing Orsi (HUN); TEO Vilnius (LTU); Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (RUS)
Games Played: 194
Statistics: 14.4 PTS, 6.9 REB, 2.2 AST, 1.9 STL
Undoubtedly a top drawer player and oozing quality, the Lithuanian forward racks up a hat-trick of all-time chart appearances, having already featured 4th in scoring and 6th in rebounds. A champion with Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje in 2009, Streimikyte also played in the WNBA with Indiana Fever and famously led her country to gold at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket in 1997.
5. Cathy MELAIN - 385 steals
Birth Date: May 19, 1974
Height: 1.83m (6ft 0in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Bourges Basket (FRA)
Games Played: 185
Statistics: 10.4 PTS, 4.8 REB, 2.8 AST, 2.1 STL
Featuring in the competition for 11 seasons wearing a Bourges Basket vest, Melain was a force for the French club and always showing her quality by contributing in so many different facets of the game whenever she was on the hardwood. Versatile, able to put points on the board, she also had a determined and hard-nosed defensive edge. She also played with distinction for her country, winning the FIBA Women's EuroBasket in both 2001 and 2009, also appearing at the Olympics and a couple of editions of the FIBA Women's World Championship. The fact she has since made the transition into coaching at a high level also demonstrates how smart she was on the court.
4. Laia PALAU - 404 steals
Birth Date: September 10, 1979
Height: 1.79m (5ft 10in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Universitat FC Barcelona (ESP); Ros Casares (ESP); CCC Polkowice (POL); ZVVZ USK Praha (CZE); Bourges Basket (FRA); Spar Citylift Girona (ESP)
Games Played: 251
Statistics: 7.5 PTS, 3.7 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.6 STL
The runaway leader in the all-time assists list, Palau is also known as a smart operator at the other end of the floor and has often come up with key defensive plays in the biggest games. Crowned EuroLeague Women champion in 2012 with Ros Casares, the playmaker has also shown her talents on the international stage for many years with Spain, as a three-time Olympian and also with three FIBA Women's Eurobasket titles to her name.
3. Celine DUMERC- 413 steals
Birth Date: July 9, 1982
Height: 1.69m (5ft 7in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Bourges Basket (FRA); UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
Games Played: 210
Statistics: 8.9 PTS, 3.5 REB,4.0 AST, 2.0 STL
If you ask any women's hoops fan to name the best lockdown defender of the past decade and even beyond, you can guarantee that that Dumerc would be on the lips of everybody in that particular conversation. So many opposing guards have found life seriously tough with her constantly disrupting their respective games and whether with Bourges or France, Dumerc has been hugely consistent. It's testament to her quality that she ranks in the all-time top three for both steals and assists.
2. Dalma IVANYI - 478 steals
Birth Date: March 18, 1976
Height: 1.75m (5ft 9in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Mizo Pecs (HUN)
Games Played: 176
Statistics: 10.0 PTS, 5.2 REB, 5.4 AST, 2.7 STL
The way that Ivanyi was able to read the game and show incredible levels of anticipation, combined with those quick hands means that she is not only second in our all-time list, but has grabbed steals at a super 2.7 per game. The Hungarian legend also ranked second in the all-time assists chart and to take the runners-up spot in each category demonstrates what a phenomenal player she was.
1. Hana HORAKOVA - 501 steals
Birth Date: September 11, 1979
Height: 1.82m (5ft 11in)
EuroLeague Women Clubs: Gambrinus Brno (CZE); Fenerbahce (TUR); UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS); Good Angels Kosice (SVK)
Games Played: 209
Statistics: 8.9 PTS, 3.8 REB, 2.4 AST, 2.4 STL
To this day, Horakova can lay claim to the fact that she is not only top of this particular all-time list, but no other player has gotten past the significant and hugely impressive landmark of 500 EuroLeague Women steals. A real colossus and legend of Czech basketball, many of her opponents would testify she was not only a world class player, but she was as hard as nails defensively. Winning the title in 2006 with Brno, she also found success for her country, winning the FIBA Women's EuroBasket title in 2005 and taking her nation to the Final of the FIBA Women's World Championship in 2010 on home soil.