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My 10 best signings of the EuroCup Women off-season
NEWCASTLE (Paul Nilsen's Women's Basketball Worldwide) - It's been a hectic off-season in EuroCup Women and a number of player movements have made me sit up and take notice.
Nirra Fields – CMB Cargo Uni Gyor
There is something hugely engaging about the game of Fields, whose directness and energy can be captivating alongside her scoring ability. Having lit it up en-route to Canada winning the FIBA Women's AmeriCup and subsequently being named MVP, she will head into her debut EuroCup Women season with confidence.
Marianna Tolo - Agu Spor
After an absence of three years from European club competition, the Opals standout is back on European soil and that is a relief for fans of Agu Spor. Having lost Lara Sanders and Ann Wauters, the club needed quality replacements to fill a major void under the basket, with Tolo bringing the size and quality necessary.
Maria Conde - Spar Citylift Girona
Girona have captured one of the most decorated youth players in history. She has been a gold mine since she took to the court as a young girl and that speaks volumes about her leadership, IQ and ability to impact games in multiple ways. It's been a stellar calendar year after winning EuroBasket Women 2017 and taking an U20 title. She also impressed during her NCAA career. Will she now measure up in the pro-game?
Renee Montgomery - Flammes Carolo Basket
If you get a veteran player who has produced the goods on both sides of the Atlantic, it's a major tick in the box for any club. To get someone with the class of the Minnesota Lynx guard is a significant boost for Flammes Carolo Basket, with the French side possibly now one of the tournament front-runners as a result.
Annamaria Prezelj - Gorzow
One of my favorite players of 2017, Prezelj is a treat to watch because she is such a natural leader and now she will help spearhead Gorzow's long-awaited return to European club competition. She is intriguing to watch, since the playmaker does not have the usual quickness or athleticism of most guards. But she is such a natural scorer, has a fine basketball brain that is a second ahead of most other opponents and she gets things done from sheer determination at times. My kind of player!
Ify Ibekwe - Istanbul Universitesi
Likeable in many ways because of her attitude and versatility, Ibekwe is an excellent signing for Istanbul Universitesi as they make a return to EuroCup Women this season. The forward has impressed previously with Girona and has court time in the WNBA behind her with Los Angeles Sparks too.
Dragana Stankovic - Artego Bydgoszcz
This is a real chance for Stankovic to become a top performer again - at least in terms of having the minutes and responsibility to shine. Touted as a future superstar during her highly productive youth career, she has not yet reached her peak, but I am sure she is ready to get on an upward curve. Having been arguably overshadowed by Courtney Paris in Hatay, she can now be a standout and marquee player at EuroCup Women newbies, Artego Bydgoszcz.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe - Nantes Reze
So what do you do when you must wave goodbye to one of your best performers in Katherine Plouffe? Well, you go out and ink another Canadian frontcourt star in Raincock-Ekunwe. With previous EuroCup Women experience at Wasserburg and with Flammes Basket Carolo, as well as WNBA court time behind her, it's a super signing for Nantes. She will bring power and poise to the table!
Marica Gajic - Mersin Buyuksehir
When Gajic was drafted to the WNBA during 2015, it was a choice that few people Stateside saw coming. Yet avid followers of European youth basketball knew the Bosnia and Herzegovina ace was a top talent. Now she has a track record at senior international level and also in the highly-rated Turkish League. She has made a summer switch to Mersin from Girne Universitesi and I can't wait to see her debut EuroCup Women campaign. She's a seriously exciting performer!
Kahleah Copper – Basket 90 Gdynia
Copper had a fine debut season in EuroCup Women last year at Castors Braine and is a nice pick-up for Gdynia. Not least, because she is so efficient and it has not gone unnoticed that she shot around 50% for Braine and has since shot 50% in the WNBA with Chicago Sky during recent months. Such consistency and quality is hard to find.
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