09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
12 Tatiana Vidmer (DYNK), half time
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Power Rankings: All change in Top 3 as Dynamo Kursk take pole and Fenerbahce enter for first time

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - After a momentous week of action, there are some big movers and shakers, plus a new-look podium to digest.

Here are our Power Rankings heading into Week 10:






Dynamo Kursk - Maybe we are being generous by giving Kursk top spot for the first time this season, but it looked like they moved up a gear with their win at Carolo Basket to improve to 9-0. They also have Olympiacos at home next and while the Greeks are confident after a first win, Kursk should have far too much and sail to 10-0.  As we mentioned last time, the guards still need to step up a bit more, but with Stewart brilliant and Anoikina joining the frontcourt party with Hollingsworth, they appear to be ready to get better during the season run-in.


UMMC Ekaterinburg - If it is generous to move up Kursk then it is logical to suggest that it's harsh in taking UMMC off top spot. But, they did almost get bitten at CCC Polkowice. While they won the game, it was largely down to Brittney Griner who was exceptional. Additionally, they have the in-form Nadezhda this week. They have always had their domestic rivals' number in a big way for many years, but the visitors will be more confident than ever. There are plenty of Russian, American and Spanish rivalries to enjoy in this one. Brionna Jones and Laura Nicholls against Brittney Griner and Emma Meesseman looks exciting.



Fenerbahce - While we complain about a lack of flair or style at times, as well as whether Fenerbahce have gotten lucky in several close games, there is no arguing with the heart they continue to show or their impressive 6-3 record. They catapult themselves onto our Power Rankings podium for the first time this season after escaping with the win against Avenida. Kia Vaughn was excellent and Kelsey Plum top-scored (we admit it feels like we have ignored her contributions all year by the way). Big test now though and if Fenerbahce have proven they are a bonafide Top 8 team this season, are they Final Four material? They will give us a clearer indication when they go to Sopron. It could be epic and the best game of the week. 

Bourges Basket - Bourges lost against an in-form Nadezhda side and not too many teams win in Orenburg. They were competitive but just did not have an answer for Erica Wheeler - a fact admitted by Coach Lafargue. Le Prado will be excited with what now lies in wait as Bourges prepare to face a ZVVZ USK Praha side who are trying to avoid three losses in a row. The hosts will want to exact revenge for a defeat earlier in the season in the Czech capital. It's back to France for Valeriane Ayayi and will she be the one to haunt her former team? Perhaps the biggest worry is that in the French League, Bourges have been derailed yet again, this time losing at home to Lyon. 

Nadezhda - The rise and rise of Nadezhda continues as they are raised up to the heady heights of a Top 5 spot in our Power Ranking. That is the rich reward for five wins in six games as they pipped Bourges via the near triple-double brilliance of Wheeler. We had previously wondered what would happen when Brionna Jones stopped getting double-doubles and we found out as her teammate stepped up. And by the way, what about that feat from Jones? Her run ended as she posted a truly spectacular 10 double-doubles in a row. The odds are stacked against Nadezhda continuing their good run though, since they face UMMC.

Sopron Basket - A tired and flat looking performance in Athens last week saw Sopron's good run come to a grinding halt as they were on the wrong end of a historical moment. They will go down as the team that was beaten by Olympiacos as the Greeks got their first ever EuroLeague Women win. Too many of the big guns misfired on the night and both Yvonne Turner and Candice Dupree set the off-tone with awful first-half performances. But both top level players, we can imagine them coming storming back against Fenerbahce this week in what looks a potential epic. Sopron want to avenge a close loss in Istanbul and will know they will be tied on 6-4 with their opponents if they can get the W. 

TTT Riga - The Latvian side took full advantage of Hatay being in alleged turmoil off the court as their opponents failed to fire completely. After a couple of  losses, TTT needed this win to get back on track and reignite their campaign. They crushed the Turkish side with excellent showings from Ivey Slaughter and Kristine Vitola leading the way. They will need to stand strong in this next contest against Avenida if Riga want to deliver what would be a hammer blow to their rivals. They also know they were out-fought and out-muscled at home to the  Spanish side earlier in the season and will want to hit back - especially as Avenida might be feeling some pressure after some underwhelming home results this season.

ZVVZ USK Praha - It was going so well for ZVVZ USK Praha after they posted their best ever start to a season, but 2019 has proven miserable so far after they suffered consecutive home losses. Going down to Schio in a tight one, they have slipped to 6-3 and won't want to face a third straight defeat, but that prospect is very real with Bourges to come on the road. They beat their rivals in a super showing last time, but need to get that defense picked up. Alyssa Thomas was quiet for once against Schio so she might roar again and overall, it is likely to be a shootout and hugely enjoyable. But is this going to be a season of two halves for Praha? 

Famila Schio - While some cynics might have suggested beating Castors Braine and getting their first win a couple of weeks ago meant very little because of the quality of opposition, there is no arguing with the magnitude of a road win at Praha. Now after that 0-7 start, Schio look red-hot favorites to move to three victories in a row with a home game against ESBVA-LM to come. Especially if Sandrine Gruda and Jantel Lavender continue to shine in the paint and Allie Quigley retains the hot hand after dropping six triples last week. The only downside is that Schio lost in the Italian league at Ragusa over the weekend which was a blow.


Perfumerias Avenida - These are becoming worrying times for the now 4-5 Avenida and they will be even more relieved they are not 3-6 after their buzzer-beater got them out of jail at Oympiacos a few weeks ago. Last week they blew the chance of an eye-catching success against Fenerbahce when they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It is now just one victory in four games and that heaps the pressure on the team ahead of an intriguing matchup against TTT Riga. Avenida won big in the Latvian capital so will know their rivals will have that in their minds. But we're not dropping Avenida further since they did almost win in Istanbul and so maybe the glass is half full, not half empty.


CCC Polkowice - They might have lost three in a row but we can't justify a drop this week for CCC after they truly did push reigning champions UMMC very hard and caused them all kinds of problems. Every time UMMC pulled away, CCC responded and credit where it is due. They maybe have never looked like truly winning the contest, but it was a strong showing. Now though, Coach Kovacik and his side must deliver again. They were 4-2 and are now standing with a losing record. Playing at Castors Braine looks like a season-defining game and the thought of losing is unimaginable. The other reason for not moving CCC down is that they lifted the Polish Cup over the weekend, thanks mainly to MVP, Temi Fagbenle.


Hatay - All the great work from the win in Salamanca the previous week unraveled in spectacular fashion as they were suffocated viciously by TTT Riga. Having posted the joint-lowest score of the season so far with just 36 points and with rumors in the Turkish media of some off-court problems that need resolving, things aren't looking good. At least they have a home game to come, won at Botas over the weekend and so should have a good chance to get back to winning ways against the struggling Carolo Basket.


Olympiacos - It's a bump up and what else would you expect after Olympiacos finally recorded their first ever win having lost their first eight EuroLeague Women outings (perhaps unfairly). They did it in real style too, beating Sopron Basket who were on a roll. They had some testing times during the game, but held firm and it was a memorable night for everyone concerned. It was a team effort as well. But this week is going to be an altogether different experience when they go to Dynamo Kursk. But with no expectations, the monkey of a maiden win now off their backs and a competitive game earlier in the seasons against Kursk to give them strength, who knows? And, we live for a giant-killing - whoever it is! 


ESBVA-LM - It was a gloomy outlook for ESBVA-LM  with just 10 minutes remaining against Castors Braine. That is because with just two wins all season and trailing by seven points, to a derby rival on a seven-game losing streak, it looked desperate. But what a difference a quarter of basketball can make as the French team produced some of their best basketball of the campaign to dismantle Braine and get a much needed win. Shante Evans was particularly effective and she will have to continue in that vein when her team goes to a revived Schio this week. She will get to fight it out against her Slovenia teammate, Eva Lisec. 


Carolo Basket - It looks to be a downward spiral for Carolo Basket after they were defeated heavily at home to Dynamo Kursk .The real disappointment is that they were never in the contest after a poor start and that was maybe a surprise since they went into the match off the back of that super domestic success against Bourges. It is now just one win in five games and they are on a worrying slide. Hatay is a tricky destination to go and win as well. They will have to shoot the ball better and be very competitive on the glass. They can take heart from a home win against their opponents and will be buoyed by a very good domestic success at BLMA - arguably the best result of their season so far in the LFB.


Castors Braine - Things went from bad to worse for the Belgians as they led by seven in the derby game at ESBVA-LM  but then lost the plot completely as they imploded. It means they have now lost eight games in a row which after the win by Olympiacos, becomes the worst losing streak in the competition. It just looks bleak right now and to lose from a position of strength and promise in Villeneuve was a kick in the stomach. They will need to show incredible mental toughness to now pick themselves up at home to CCC. The light at the end of the tunnel is that the visitors are on a three-game losing streak themselves. 

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