09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
14 Giorgia Sottana | Photo: Atilla Sertbakan
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EuroLeague Women Power Rankings: UMMC head list, Fenerbahce can't make top five

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - We're approaching the start of what is expected to be another thrilling EuroLeague Women season and we're ready with our first Power Rankings for the competition.

Early each week, we will be producing new rankings with all of the climbers and fallers, ahead of the new round of action. 






UMMC Ekaterinburg -  They have already been crowned SuperCup Women winners and the reigning champions are red-hot favorites to defend their EuroLeague Women 2018 title. Their summer signings which include the likes of Jonquel Jones, Maria Vadeeva, Courtney Vandersloot and Kayla McBride only add to their amazing core of  players like Emma Meesseman, Alba Torrens and Brittney Griner. Is this potentially their best ever roster?


Dynamo Kursk - They didn't show their true face at the 2018 Final Four and rumors of their demise seem unfounded. Everyone is expecting them to meet UMMC in what would effectively be an All-Star type of title game next year.  Breanna Stewart will make her long-awaited debut, Marta Xargay links up with Coach Mondelo and there is Sonja Petrovic too. It's just a pity the Candace Parker deal has fallen through late in the day, so Kursk are now trying to sign somebody else. Then again, they can take their time. It looks like Stewart has got this...just the 40 points on her debut over the weekend!

Hatay - Will this be the season when Hatay make a deep run in the tournament and show their teeth? The signs are good. Not only do they have the powerhouse figure of Courtney Paris under the hoop, they have the red-hot hand of Hind Ben Abdelkader in the backcourt. Her MVP performance in the recent Presidential Cup Final was impressive - as was the way Hatay shut down Fenerbahce.

Sopron Basket - Can you still feel the vibes of that historic run to the Final on home soil last season? We can! Riding on this crest of a wave, even the loss of a couple of key players can't hurt Roberto Iniguez and his side, since they have recruited two top quality players in the shape of Amanda Zahui and Candice Dupree, who will work in tandem in the paint - perhaps giving them an even stronger frontcourt than in last year's run to the title game!

Perfumerias Avenida - When it comes to experience and potential defensive capabilities, Avenida look as well set as any other club in the competition. Throw in the fact they have their famous 'Blue Tide' support behind them at every game and you realize they will be a seriously tough nut to crack. The only question mark is probably whether new head coach Lino Lopez will deliver in his first season. Although he has already pushed the Spanish SuperCup back into the cabinet. 

Fenerbahce - After the considerable setback of a  quite poor Presidential Cup  Final loss to HatayFenerbahce are perhaps going to need some time to gel and warm-up this season. A league loss over the weekend was also a sign of some early growing pains although key personnel were missing. The most important aim is to get back to the Final Four and in time, they should have a good opportunity of doing that with the likes of Cecilia Zandalasini, Kia Stokes and Bria Hartley having been brought in. 

Bourges Basket - Losing Valeriane Ayayi was undoubtedly a blow as the winger was their best player last season. However, they have already flexed their muscles by winning the Match of Champions at the LFB Open weekend recently. Katherine Plouffe looks strong, Marine Johannes will want to light it up again after an arguably mediocre #FIBAWWC - or at least by her extraordinarily high standards. Meanwhile rising star Iliana Rupert will make her debut.

ZVZ USK Prague - Any team led by veteran head coach Natalia Hejkova is going to continue being competitive, even if they are younger than in previous years. The main arrivals of the summer add class in WNBA standout Alyssa Thomas, French winger Valeriane Ayayi and Slovenia national team leader, Teja Oblak. However, much will hinge on the Czech players like Katerina Elhotova and especially Alena Hanusova posting good campaigns.

CCC Polkowice -  After some turbulent seasons in past years, the feel good factor has finally dropped in Polkowice for the start of a EuroLeague Women campaign. That's because playcaller Maros Kovacik came back and led the club to the Polish title. His reward was to keep most of his main stars like the towering  Temi Fagbenle, while adding more WNBA experience in Tiffany Hayes. With veteran know-how via Jo Leedham and Styliani Kaltsidou, they will certainly know how to get it done in the difficult moments.


TTT Riga - How impressed were we with TTT Riga in the Qualifiers? Well, incredibly impressed if the truth be told. Not just one, but two stunning displays against Reyer Venezia as they smashed the Italians to progress. A EuroLeague Women return was much-needed for women's basketball in Latvia after #FIBAWWC disappointment – especially for playcaller Martins Zibarts. Their up-tempo style is nice to watch , Shay Peddy looks a difference-maker and Kristine Vitola is getting better with age. A strong campaign has extra significance with the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 in Riga on the horizon.


ESBVA-LM -  The Qualifiers were a stark reminder of the qualities of ESBVA-LM who are not to be taken lightly. They may not have a star-laden roster, but they have continuity in key positions and not least in head coach Fred Dusart, who is a seasoned warrior in this competition. His teams are well prepared and often defensively tough. That was shown when they brushed past KSC Szekszard in the Qualifiers. The emergence of Magali Mendy is promising too.


Famila Schio - While you can see the Italian powerhouse moving up, it may require an adjustment period after almost all their big-hitters departed during the summer in Cecilia ZandalasiniEndy Miyem, Isabelle Yacoubou, Laura Macchi and Jolene Anderson. This high turnover means Schio may be slow burners, but they have quality in Jantel Lavender and Sandrine Gruda. We're also getting excited by young debutantes Olbis Futo Andre and Florencia Chagas.


Carolo Basket - It's heading into the unknown for Carolo Basket who are well versed in EuroCup Women, but will not be aware of the step up in class until they have jumped into the water. They will be led by the  brilliant Amel Bouderra, who will orchestrate the plays, Kaleena Lewis will do the business on the wing, with Zofia Hruscakova capable in the forward position. There is also a welcome return to the competition for Spanish star, Queralt Casas.


Castors Braine - The Belgian side will be looking to build and capitalize on the current buzz that is surrounding the women's game in Belgium after the national team's heroics and beautiful basketball at the #FIBAWWC. Antonia Delaere was just one cornerstone of that success and Castors Braine have sealed a particularly nice addition with new naturalized Great Britain star Karlie Samuelson. She brings WNBA minutes from the Los Angeles Sparks.


Nadezhda - We can still hear new head coach Victor Lapena blowing the air from his cheeks in absolute relief after they scraped past Cukurova in the Qualifiers. If it had not been for a couple of massive late triples from newcomer Adut Bulgak, then Nadezhda would have missed out on this Regular Season. They have a solid team with veteran guard Sandra Ygueravide pulling the strings and Brionna Jones going to work in the paint. They have also traditionally been good at home down the years and if that continues, they could shoot up the rankings.


Olympiacos -  It will be a historic first footstep in the competition for Olympiacos and one they will try to make the most of. However, they only just squeezed past Wisla CANPACK in the Qualifiers. They don't look like they have enough depth to pack a major punch, but they do have some players worth watching and not least, the ever-improving Pinelopi Pavlopoulou who starred at the #FIBAWWC last month.

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and in no way a true, accurate ranking system. All comments are purely those of the author(s).