Five key factors for the EuroLeague Women Qualifiers
MUNICH (Germany) - There are six clubs fighting it out for the last three precious tickets to the EuroLeague Women Regular Season.
The victorious trio from the various two-legged ties will advance, while those clubs who fall short will take their place in the EuroCup Women Regular Season.
Could It Become A Curse For Reyer Venezia?
There could potentially be a fear factor for Reyer Venezia heading into these Qualifiers since they have stumbled before at this stage and another failure could see it developing into something of a curse. They are surely one of the biggest clubs yet to play in in the Regular Season and the Italian side is certainly well equipped to compete at the highest level. They crashed by a massive 28 points in the Qualifiers against TTT Riga during 2018 and will want to make a strong start this time around. They will look to dominate Miskolc in the paint and that is not a surprise, since they have a formidable presence under the bucket in the shape of Latvian ace Anete Steinberga (pictured) and Lithuanian leader Gintare Petronyte. For an added twist, these two clubs met last season in EuroCup Women with Reyer Venezia winning by 17 on home soil and narrowly losing on the road by a single bucket.
Will DVTK Miskolc miss Walker?
DVTK Miskolc have seen their stock rise during recent seasons playing in EuroCup Women and are determined to spark their EuroLeague Women ambitions into life. However, they will be ruing the fact that their star player Shatori Walker-Kimbrough has been delayed Stateside. Whilst fans and the hierarchy will be thrilled that she has experienced a deep ride through the WNBA Play-Offs, it is very much a double-edged sword, since her potential absence leaves a big void in terms of scoring power. Although at least the Hungarians do still have some big talent in the likes of Dora Medgyessy, Maja Skoric and Cyesha Goree, who rather ironically, was playing for Reyer Venezia in last year's doomed Qualifiers against Riga.
The On-Fire Fagbenle To Fuel Botas
One of the biggest signings during the off-season was Botas snapping up Temi Fagbenle. The center has been on fire throughout the calendar year, taking the Polish League 2018-19 MVP crown with CCC Polkowice, prior to following it up with a place in the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 All-Star Five after some monumental displays for Great Britain on their historic charge to the Semi-Finals of the competition. Botas face Arka Gdynia in the Qualifiers and they will know the full force of Fagbenle from domestic action in the past couple of seasons in the BLK. There is no doubt that Gdynia will have to come up with a strategy to slow her down. Botas look like favorites to advance having also inked the scorching skills of Shey Peddy, while Fagbenle will form a power-packed twin towers alongside Quanitra Hollingsworth.
Are BLMA The Real Deal?
BLMA are knocking on the EuroLeague Women door again and eager to prove it is where they belong. They went into the off-season with a bitter-sweet taste in their mouths after a super run to the EuroCup Women Final last year, but eventually losing out in front of their own fans to Nadezhda. Now they must bounce back and show they can be competitive in EuroLeague Women by firstly beating Olympiacos in these Qualifiers and then improving on what was a tough 2017-18 season. The last time they were in EuroLeague Women they went a shocking 1-13 during the Regular Season. Holding onto the free-scoring Sami Whitcomb (pictured) was a boon and they have made some interesting roster moves by bringing in the powerhouse Stephanie Mavunga, quality with Gabby Williams and exciting scoring and creative ability with Swedish young-gun Klara Lundquist. But are BLMA now the real deal? We will soon find out.
Don't Discount Gutsy Olympiacos
This time last year, Wisla CANPACK were expected to see off Olympiacos, but the Greek side emerged in a thriller and won it by just one point on aggregate across the tie. Once again they will be underdogs when they face BLMA. but they are likely to show their guts again. Three quarters of the 2018-19 roster are back on board and so watch out for their core that includes Anna Spyridopoulou, Jessica Thomas, and Pinelopi Pavlopoulou. Newcomers Anna Jurcenkova and Jacki Gemelos are also the type of players who will have no hesitation in buying into this never-say-die philosophy.