EuroLeague Women Power Rankings: Volume 2
MUNICH (Germany) - The second hubs of the EuroLeague Women Regular Season is almost here and so it's time to check in with the updated Power Rankings.
As usual, changes to rosters, domestic form and of course, the outcome of the first set of Regular Season games were taken into consideration to determine who now looks on course to make the postseason.
#1 UMMC Ekaterinburg (0)
Three wins and with everyone pretty much contributing well, there was lots to love from the club that many feel are the 'champions in waiting'. Jonquel Jones, Courtney Vandersloot, Alba Torrens and Breanna Stewart were particularly impressive. They're looking like they're capable of not only climbing to the top step of the podium and lifting the 2021, they're going to do it unbeaten - aren't they? Especially when you now throw an expected return of Brittney Griner into the mix. Wow.
#2 Sopron Basket (+5)
Having made the Final Four twice in recent seasons, this Sopron side looks capable of a deep run after a super 4-0 start. Enjoying home comforts, the wins against Bourges, Basket Landes and a double over Galatasaray was impressive. Credit to head coach David Gaspar. Meanwhile Tina Krajisnik is one of the most underrated and talked about players in the tournament. The club is also on the rise after recently extending the contracts of both Briann January and Gabby Williams to cover 2021-22!
#3 LDLC ASVEL Feminin (+6)
Stung by the first volume which had them slated in a lowly 9th position? Well, they can enjoy a rapid rise off the back of the win against VBW Arka Gdynia and that fabulous success against Fenerbahce. They almost snatched a perfect treble after a narrow loss to Praha of course. With Marine Johannes on fire and the jewel in the crown, the Lyon side also showed how much of a team they are and a joy to watch. Now opportunity knocks loudly. The second meeting with Praha feels particularly crunch.
#4 ZVVZ USK Praha (-2)
It was a mixed bag for Praha last time in beating Gdynia and ASVEL (only just) and losing to Fenerbahce. They have huge work to do again and will have basket difference in their minds with this group looking like a big three-way tie possibility. The positives are Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas still mostly unstoppable, while Marija Rezan has also impressed. If her fellow Croat Ivana Dojkic can come alive, it would make a major difference. The next game against Fenerbahce. will be intriguing.
#5 Fenerbahce (-2)
Few anticipated the Istanbul giants being outside the top two in the group heading into this second hub and it was mediocre from Victor Lapena's team last month. While Satou Sabally was breathing fire and Kayla McBride did well, they lost badly against ASVEL and never looked anywhere near top gear. A massive derby win against Galatasaray recently will have boosted confidence, but not as much as the re-signing of 2019-20 EuroLeague Women Regular Season MVP, Alina Iagupova.
#6 Perfumerias Avenida (+2)
Could Avenida be the dark horses for Final Four? So far at least, so good. Devastating against both Nadezhda and most impressively against Dynamo Kursk, they are in pole position and also enjoying domestic success too. They have the tools to seal the deal and make the Quarter-Finals. A great coach and top level operator in Roberto Iniguez who is proving himself as always, while the team ethic is embedded with a super 10 players getting more than 15 minutes per game in Liga Femenina.
#7 Spar Girona (+3)
It was a roller-coaster ride last month. A new coach, some potential problems and yet they came out with that precious victory against Famila Schio - the main reason for their rise. They must still avoid slipping up against TTT and have to focus on beating Schio again to progress with only a small margin of victory from the first meeting. They've lost some games domestically so it's not all plain sailing, but the nice core rotation of 6-7 players looks settled and Sonja Vasic is a game-winner in waiting.
#8 Basket Landes (+5)
Opportunity knocks for the first-timers after that historic maiden win in the opening hub. They've put together a decent domestic season and boosted their depth, experience and firepower with the arrival of Serbian ace Nevena Jovanovic. But maybe it will be French winger Valeriane Vukosavljevic that can be the one to guide them to at least one more win in this hub, since she could be the one needing to guard Angel McCoughtry in two vital meetings against Galatasaray.
#9 Dynamo Kursk (-5)
They were awful in that first hub weren't they? They deserved the D grade for their efforts after being left stunned by Nadezhda and then being outclassed by Avenida. But perhaps it was just a false start? Since that horror show in Istanbul, they have lost only once in the Russian Premier League, with Arike Ogunbowale and Raisa Musina particularly impressive. With more to come from Steph Mavunga and Amanda Zahui, maybe they can recover and take second place in the group.
#10 Famila Schio (-5)
Complaints Schio were too high in the first rankings means they'll be seen as too low now. But it's UMMC next, so they may need to pursue the postseason from a 1-3 record. It'll surely rest on the last game with Girona. Outpaced so far in the Italian League by rivals Venezia, they've much to think about. The upside is Sandrine Gruda being a class act and Natalie Achonwa growing in influence. Now can backcourt stars Giorgia Sottana and Kim Mestdagh deliver in the clutch during this hub?
#11 Galatasaray (-5)
After missing out on the first hub in frustration due to COVID-19 hitting the team, they went on to lose both re-arranged meetings against the high-flying Sopron and looked disjointed. It has put them right on the back foot, as did the departure of the prolific Courtney Williams. That is why we have the considerable fall in the rankings. But, could it be a former Fenerbahce Finalist in new signing Angel McCoughtry that gets them up and running with a much needed first win?
#12 Nadezhda (+2)
Was their shock win against Dynamo Kursk an exception or something repeatable? Their subsequent poor show against Avenida confirmed we don't truly know... yet. Facing Kursk first in this second hub, it will be fascinating to see if their domestic rivals extract revenge. Mediocre in the Russian League, they need more than the in-form Monique Billings and Anastasia Logunova to shine and the meeting with Izmit could be so key to their ability to keep dreaming of making it to the last eight.
#13 Izmit Belediyespor (-1)
The lack of any action in the first hub due to the Coronavirus has meant a lengthy delay to this first historic footstep in the Regular Season. But it's tough to see anything other than an immediate fall as they meet the in-form Perfumerias Avenida in what is the first of four games in six days. We're not sure how confident they can be because at 8-8 in the Turkish League, it looks uninspiring. The homegrown supporting cast must step up to help leading lights Erica Wheeler and Clarissa Dos Santos.
#14 Bourges Basket (-3)
With two losses after that first window against fellow French side Basket Landes and group leaders Sopron Basket, it was rather underwhelming for Bourges outside of the brilliant Alexia Chartereau. So, a fall in therankings was inevitable. But there is reason to think that maybe they can save their EuroLeague Women season despite the 0-2 start. They have home advantage in this second hub, have just beaten Landes in the French League and that leaves them unbeaten.
#15 VBW Arka Gdynia (0)
Even without a win yet, it feels unfair not to hand Gdynia a rise in the rankings. After all, they are imperious in the Polish League and showed some flashes of nice work in their games against both Fenerbahce and ZVVZ USK Praha. But that lack of depth in the toughest group means it could be a winless campaign. Still, with Barbora Balintova, Alice Kunek, Artemis Spanou and Laura Miskiniene-Svaryte, perhaps they can be the team to upset one of their group rivals who can't afford to take Gdynia lightly.
#16 TTT Riga (0)
They fought hard in the first hub, but the predicted 0-3 record materialized and we can't justify taking them upwards away from bottom spot for this second volume of the rankings. The form of Kitija Laksa was enjoyable last time and there were some other positives, including some reasonable shooting. But the rebounding has to improve dramatically and it is still a concern that the hub format impacts adversely on TTT, who have little quality domestic competition on a regular basis in between.
Disclaimer: The power rankings are entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking systems. All comments are purely those of the author.
The EuroLeague Women Power Rankings are put together by our panel, led by FIBA's women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen. He eats, sleeps and breathes female hoops and is incredibly passionate about the promotion of the women's game at all levels. Paul uses an extensive network of players, coaches, clubs and Federations to shape his work and opinions.