Which players have won the most titles in the modern era of EuroLeague Women?
MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - There aren't too many players who can call themselves EuroLeague Women champions, and very few to have gone all the way more than once in their careers.
However, there is a very select group of players who have made winning a habit, dominating the modern-day era of Europe's flagship club competition. Starting from the 1996-97 season, there are less than 10 athletes with four or more EuroLeague Women titles to their name.
Who are they? Let's find out!
Ann WAUTERS (BEL) 🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: October 12, 1980
Height: 1.94m (6ft 4in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2002, 2004 - US Valenciennes Olympic (FRA); 2005 - VBM-SGAU (RUS); 2012 - Ros Casares (ESP)
Another legend of the women's game, Wauters needs little introduction and not least because she is the all-time leader in the competition for both points and rebounds. This is a tremendous accomplishment and testament to her quality and longevity. Whatever club she played for, the towering figure of the Belgian made the four-time champion a handful at both ends of the floor.
Sancho LYTTLE (VIN/ESP) 🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: September 20, 1983
Height: 1.93m (6ft 4in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2011 - Halcon Avenida (ESP); 2012 - Ros Casares (ESP); 2014 - Galatasaray (TUR); 2016 - UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
The dynamism, athleticism and perpetual work in the paint of Lyttle was a real boost for all four teams she made it to the top of the podium with. A defensive colossus, who would also prove this massively as a naturalized player for Spain at so many leading global tournaments, the forward played a leading role in two big shocks when helping Halcon Avenida and Galatasaray to win their first titles. She also showed her versatility and smarts when on more stacked rosters with Ros Casares and UMMC, underlining how much of a class act she has been.
Marina KARPUNINA (RUS) 🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: March 24, 1984
Height: 1.78m (5ft 10in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (RUS)
When Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje dominated, players like Karpunina were nowhere near the center of the radar due to the number of international giants on the star-studded rosters. Yet, dig down into the archives, check out the footage and ask anybody involved and they will tell you just how important back-up players like the Russian guard was during this era of success. Stepping off the bench to make some shots or playing rugged defense, Karpunina was integral to the four-time winners.
Olga ARTESHINA (RUS) 🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: November 27, 1982
Height: 1.82m (6ft 0in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2005 - VBM-SGAU (RUS); 2013, 2016, 2018 - UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
With her hard working ethic and appetite to play for the team first, balanced with an impressive basketball IQ, Arteshina has been able to enjoy a superb and very long career. Her role with several title winning teams was not a surprise because of her characteristics, which also shone in a Russian national team vest. Helping VBM-SGAU to their first success in 2005, the forward then cleaned up another three EuroLeague Women titles with UMMC before calling it a day after Final Four in 2018.
Irina OSIPOVA (RUS) 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: June 25, 1981
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2003 - UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS); 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (RUS)
A five-time EuroLeague Women champion, Osipova first stood on top of the podium back in 2003 with UMMC Ekaterinburg, which was also the maiden success for the Russian powerhouse. She was then part of the storied Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje team and their four consecutive titles, offering a big presence in the paint and especially defensively. Smart and with bags full of international experience as a leader with Russia, the center was a key cog in the wheel for Sparta&K as she lapped up rebounds, swatted shots and showed her under appreciated passing vision.
Alba TORRENS (ESP) 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: August 30, 1989
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2011 - Halcon Avenida (ESP); 2014 - Galatasaray (TUR); 2016, 2018, 2019 - UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
Had COVID-19 not wrecked the now aborted 2019-20 season, Torrens could well have made history by becoming only the second player to have won the title six times. Certainly UMMC, where she has won three of her medals, were overwhelming favorites. The influence of Torrens on this competition has been huge and she was also behind two of the biggest upsets when she helped propel both Avenida and Galatasaray to history and their first ever titles in 2011 and 2014.
Sue BIRD (USA) 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: October 16, 1980
Height: 1.75m (5ft 9in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (RUS); 2013 - UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
A women's basketball legend globally, there are few better known players than the veteran guard. The USA standout was a backcourt leader for Russian giants Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje, who won the still unprecedented four in a row. Bird pulled the strings to great effect and added more silverware to her incredible resume at the elite level, including when she suited up for UMMC in 2012-13 - although she did sustain an injury, missing out down the season stretch.
Natalia VIERU (RUS) 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: July 25, 1989
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2008, 2009, 2010 - Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (RUS); 2016, 2018, 2019 - UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
Another relative unsung hero, Vieru was a young player for Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje when they were in their prime, winning those four straight titles. Involved in the post season during both 2008 and 2010, as well as the Regular Season in 2009, she has since went on to win a hat-trick of titles with UMMC. The center might have been largely a role player during all six titles, rather than a headline act, but that should not dilute the fact that she knows what it takes to consistently contribute to these famous juggernaut teams.
Diana TAURASI (USA) 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆
Birth Date: June 11, 1982
Height: 1.82m (6ft 0in)
EuroLeague Women Titles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje (RUS); 2013, 2016 UMMC Ekaterinburg (RUS)
It's little wonder that the player many consider to be the women's basketball GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) is one of only two players in the modern era to have won the title six times. Of course as well as lighting it up those four years for Sparta&K and then adding to her silverware haul with UMMC, Taurasi was simply the biggest box office attraction in the competition for an entire decade. A true icon of EuroLeague Women, she was never out of the news, including when the USA star famously played for Istanbul rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.