09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
9 Nika Baric (UMMC), 37 Teja Oblak (USK)
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Power Rankings: Big climbers and fallers as crunch time approaches

MUNICH (Germany) - There are just three  EuroLeague Women Regular Season games for each club remaining and time is running out for some, while others are looking to confirm Play-Off or EuroCup Women places.

Here are our Power Rankings heading into Week 12:






Dynamo Kursk - They were put under huge pressure at Fenerbahce, with their opponents 7 points in the lead and with all the momentum heading into the last 10 minutes. However, Kursk showed great composure to dig out the win behind a 33-point effort from Breanna Stewart which was the most by any player in a game since the 2016-17 season. The vital thing was Epiphanny Prince having her best game of the year so far in support. The last unbeaten record in the competition is placed on the line against Sopron this week in a battle of two Spanish coaches, Lucas Mondelo and Roberto Iniguez.


UMMC Ekaterinburg - We're keeping UMMC in second spot and not pushing them down further despite them losing their perfect record with that defeat in the Czech capital. The mitigation is that they were without Alba Torrens and plying against a Praha team that produced their best basketball of the season. It should not derail the charge of the champions too much and especially as they are red-hot favorites to get back on track at home to Bourges. Although it is unlikely to be a walkover for them. No game is in this competition and they will remember that OT thriller at Le Prado earlier in the season! UMMC will feel they can use Maria Vadeeva, Brittney Griner and Emma Meesseman to dominate inside. 



ZVVZ USK Praha - Yes, they are back! A huge and deserved rise for ZVVZ USK Praha after they added to their roster with Isabelle Harrison and finally won a game in 2019. And it was quite a momentous and memorable victory as they avoided a fourth straight loss with a brilliant triumph against UMMC. They were in dreamland when up by 20 points at one juncture. Alyssa Thomas was immense with her near triple-double and Teja Oblak had her best game in a Praha vest. Perfect timing! After that mid-season wobble, they showed their teeth again and will be expecting to beat Castors Braine on the road comfortably to edge closer to a Play-Off Spot.


Fenerbahce - You have to give credit to Fenerbahce for much of their performance against the unbeaten Dynamo Kursk and not least because they were without Belarusian star Anastasiya Verameyenka who has been such an influential figure this season. The disappointment will be that they had their opponents on the ropes, ahead by 7 points and with the fans creating a great atmosphere, they let things slip - albeit against a classy opponent. 7-4 is still solid and they now go to a Hatay side punching above their weight. Superior depth should see Fenerbahce moving to 8-4, with Bria Hartley and Kelsey Plum able to turn off the Riquna Williams tap.

Nadezhda - Opportunity knocks loudly for Coach Lapena and his team as the comfortable win last week against Castors Braine is now followed up by a chance to go to 7-5 if they can beat ESBVA-LM on the road. It looks like something of an acid test for the Russian side who need to show they are the real deal for a possible Play-Off spot or the EuroCup Women Quarter-Finals. Controlling the tempo and pushing the pace might be their strategy as they have enough in their armory to outgun the French side.

Bourges Basket - It was a disappointing home loss for Bourges Basket against Schio, since they never really got going properly after that slow start. It will also now be tough to bounce back from the defeat as their next fixture is at the DIVS Arena in Ekatrinburg and few teams compete there - let alone win. At least Coach Lafargue and his players celebrated making the French Cup Semi-Finals over the weekend. Bourges will have to step up in the paint to stay in the game against UMMC and will know the hosts will have the added motivation of coming into this one off the back of a loss for the first time this season. It looks daunting!

CCC Polkowice - What a great game this week for CCC at Famila Schio as they look to go 7-5 which would be a terrific place to be with a couple of game days remaining. They did the business efficiently at home to ESBVA-LM last week and will expect a seriously tough test on the road against a Schio team boosted by the win at Bourges. Two strong defensive minded coaches in  Maros Kovacik and Pierre Vincent, much will probably come down to who makes fewer errors and whether the experienced Jo Leedham Warner and Stella Kaltsidou can help take care of the likes of Allie Quigley.

Sopron Basket - Just one place downwards for Sopron who did lose a third game in a row, but were involved in yet another tight one. The fact is that they had the ball on the last possession to potentially win the contest but didn't execute so it seems harsh to push them down further. Fine margins mean they are certainly on the slide and are likely to lose four consecutive games since they are on the road at Dynamo Kursk. Results-wise, things might not be going their way but they still have opportunities ahead. Amanda Zahui against Natasha Howard and Quanitra Hollingsworth under the hoop looks a crunch battle. At least Sopron unleashed their frustration from last week on KSC Szekszard with a  massive win against their domestic rivals. 



Famila Schio- The only way to recover from their surprise slump at home to ESBVA-LM  was to do the business at Le Prado and it was certainly a happy return to Bourges for playcaller Pierre Vincent. His team were impressive throughout and especially Allie Quigley and Sandrine Griuda who were the main architects of a victory that keeps Schio in contention for a place in the EuroCup Women Quarter-Finals. It is such a crunch game against CCC Polkowice and the Italians will want to avenge an agonizing loss earlier in the campaign. 


Hatay - The win at Olympiacos was an excellent one for Hatay because they had trailed by double digits in the contest and showed a lot of resolve to come back and take victory. Currently 5-6 with two other clubs in Group B, they still have a shot of the Play-Offs and certainly the Quarter-Finals of EuroCup Women. There is a familiar face of Fenerbahce standing in their way this week and while they have had some successes domestically, that was early in the season and key players have left since then. The biggest issue for Hatay will be energy and a lack of intensity as the chances are, Fenerbahce will simply wear them down with an extended rotation so it will be a tough challenge. Hatay lost at Besiktas in the Turkish League over the weekend which was not ideal preparation. 


TTT Riga - What an implosion  at Carolo by a team that had impressed us all so much with their performances and results. TTT Riga left their defense in the locker room and leaked a mammoth 55 points in the first half alone - giving up 15 triples in the contest .That was not good enough by the standards they have set during this eye-catching season but the big drop we have subjected them to in our rankings this week is to serve as a major wakeup call. EuroLeague Women is brutal and after insisting they needed to focus last week, they did everything but. No need to press the panic button, but there is no room for slip-ups against a slippery Olympiacos team who will make life awkward. 


Perfumerias Avenida - We  could have moved Avenida up a few more spots but are being cautious on the basis they squandered a 20-point lead at Sopron last week and almost snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory. However, they did doge a bullet, end their losing streak and it was a winning return to the helm for Coach Ortega. The key was the introduction of Jewell Loyd who was excellent and really showed why she is a reigning WNBA and FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup champion. Now Avenida have also strengthened in the paint with Cyesha Goree via Reyer Venezia and that will help them  against Carolo who are more backcourt and wing orientated. We are sure Avenida will be working on that perimeter defense in practice and they really do need to turn Pabellon Wurzburg back into a fortress instead of it being a party place for visiting teams. 


Carolo Basket - What a shooting effort by Carolo who destroyed the visiting TTT Riga by dropping those 15 triples, making 100 points and thriving  off the back of Hailey Peters' continued good form and an amazing 7 of 7 from long range by Kaleena Lewis. We would have put them even higher was it not for the fact that they now face an Avenida team  boosted on confidence and also that away victories have not been forthcoming. In fact, Carolo are still waiting to make history by taking a first ever road win in the competition. Will this week be the week? If they do, they are going to have to really step things up inside. as well as from behind the three-point line. They made the French Cup Semi-Finals over the weekend which will give them confidence.


ESBVA-LM - After consecutive wins, the very up and down ESBVA-LM couldn't extend it to three, after they were well beaten at CCC Polkowice. This week they have a fascinating game against Nadezhda. While the Russians will be favorites, ESBVA-LM will fancy their chances with home-court advantage and the fact that if they do get the W, they will be just one victory behind their rivals with two weeks remaining. They must shoot well from long range, contain Erica Wheeler and keep Brionna Jones at arms' length to be successful. They crashed out of the French Cup by the way.


Olympiacos - For once, we do have to hand out criticism to Olympiacos as they really did have a  wide open opportunity to double their win tally for the season last week when leading against Hatay. But, they blew it  in the last quarter and during crunch time. It will be another win that really did get away and there is none of the usual sympathy we regularly give the Greek team this week. It does not get any easier either, since they will know TTT Riga are a team that are still feeling the bite of that surprise demolition at the hands of Carolo. 


Castors Braine - 10 losses in a row after another big defeat. We won't bore you with the details. Just three more weeks of agony left for the Belgian champions. ZVVZ USK Praha next up and surely an 11th consecutive defeat beckons - or will they pull an oversized rabbit out of the hat with  an unexpected and shock win. We won't hold our breath. 

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