09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
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Power Rankings: How high did Fenerbahce, Hatay and Schio climb?

MUNICH (EuroLeague Women) - After a brilliant start to 2019 that included some super debuts and surprise results, it feels like crunch time is coming towards us.

Several teams made jumps up our rankings in the wake of last week's efforts and the standings are really beginning to take shape. Here are our Power Rankings heading into Week 9:






UMMC Ekaterinburg - Business as usual at the start of 2019 as they strolled past ESBVA-LM, hitting the century mark again. They could have a tough test at CCC Polkowice this week, who did cause them some problems earlier in the campaign at the DIVS Arena. UMMC will look to dominate inside and keep up their stunning 54% shooting from two-point range. They look certainties to go 9-0 on current form. It has been a team effort by the way, with six players all crashing double digits for efficiency! Still the team to beat.


Dynamo Kursk -  The sense of deja-vu was astonishing last week. Winning a tight game for the fifth time this season and also winning against TTT Riga by just one basket, like they did back on opening day. The big positive was that Quanitra Hollingsworth fit straight in at both ends of the court and debuted with a fine double-double. The next step is to get the guards firing more efficiently in Epiphanny Prince, Anna Cruz and Marta Xargay, who have been okay, but can shine brighter. No game is easy in this competition, but they should see off Carolo Basket this week on the road. They should kill the French side on the glass.

Bourges Basket - Bourges had to respond to a massive home loss to BLMA in the French League  by beating CCC. They went behind for most of the game, but a super last 15 minutes showcased their togetherness and quality as they stormed to the win. Cristina Ouvina was exceptional and the backcourt is looking very strong. Now Ouvina will go up against her compatriot Sandra Ygueravide against Nadezhda (as well as Laura Nicholls and Victor Lapena). Bourges will surely try to pressure their opponents defensively and capitalize on fast-break opportunities. Although they may be worrying they head into the game after another domestic setback.

Sopron Basket - The rise and rise of Sopron either side of the winter break! As said previously, the defense is their mojo! Coach Iniguez described it as near to perfect after their win at home to Carolo and now they must play hard in a dangerous game at Olympiacos. Every week it gets tougher for the opponents of the Greek club who know a first ever win must be coming soon and nobody wants to be the one to get bitten. There was a boost for Aleksandra Crvendakic last week as she was named the female Serbian Player of the Year. But in this game against Olympiacos, it's surely all about Yvonne Turner who has been key.

ZVVZ USK Praha - It was a pity somebody had to lose that double-overtime epic, but Praha only have themselves to blame as they were the team in complete control when leading Nadezhda by 17 points. While losing is never easy and especially in those circumstances, the positive factor is that this will serve as a big wake-up call. Having lost, can Praha now react against a Schio team coming off a first victory? The game is likely to be won on the wings and forward spots with Valeriane Ayayi and Alyssa Thomas looking to impose themselves. Ultimately, the scoring power of Praha and ability to play fast is their power!

Fenerbahce - Another club who has started 2019 in their 2018 mode (like UMMC, Dynamo Kursk and Sopron Basket). Is that a good thing? Well, it was not a pretty  victory for Fenerbahce against Olympiacos. But, they did get another W on the board and came on strong late in the game with a big run. They also showed character to bounce back from a domestic mauling by Cukurova and that was important. Some big name players are still not being productive or look like they are enjoying themselves, although Bria Hartley certainly is as she continued to hold the hot hand. Avenida this week is a great test for Coach Garnier and her side.

Nadezhda - A surge into the Top 8 for Nadezhda and not only because they won that double-overtime classic in Prague after coming from behind in probably the best game of the season so far. It should not be overlooked that Nadezhda are a form team, with a 3-1 record in their last 4 games. The signing of Laura Nicholls gave them so much defense, experience and an even more physical presence. It makes them even more rugged and with the class of Brionna Jones still shining through so much, what about Bourges at home? It could be one of the games of the week! 

TTT Riga - It was another tough loss against Dynamo Kursk for the Latvian powerhouse as they went down in a tight one against the Russian juggernauts for the second time this season. It was a good performance, but the cold hard facts are that the pressure is back on Riga now. After such a brilliant start to the season, they are staring at the possibility of a third loss in a row if they don't come out on top against Hatay. They are looking to secure a season double against their opponents, although they have an adjusted roster and much will hinge on Shay Peddy taking care of the recently arrived Riquna Williams. 

Hatay - What a boost for Hatay it was to win in Salamanca and the decision to bring Williams into the backcourt proved a masterstroke as she erupted on her debut to emerge as the game-winner and MVP. While it only improved their record to 3-5, could it be a momentum shifter in the context of their season? We're about to find out, since they will now fancy their chances of back-to-back road wins against a TTT Riga you could argue are on the slide - at least results-wise. The only fly in the ointment is that Hatay did lose at home to Mersin at the weekend which may have dented the confidence from their success in Spain.



Perfumerias Avenida - It is turning into a potentially disappointing season for Avenida who had to make a statement against Hatay but sucked up another home loss. Now they have to face more Turkish opposition with a trip to Istanbul against Fenerbahce. Both sides are so well matched in terms of the numbers, but it will come down to individual match-ups, with the in-form Bria Hartley needing to be locked down by Silvia Dominguez and Elin Eldebrink. Avenida will look to be imposing in the paint, the one area they have been very effective, since few players are making an impact from long-range. 


CCC Polkowice - Things have went from sunshine and light to darker skies and looming black clouds. Is there a storm on the horizon? Well, CCC have gone from 4-2 to the very real prospect of facing a third straight defeat and suddenly a losing record. They blew a great opportunity to win at Bourges with an awful last 15 minutes when they lost the plot at both ends of the floor from a position of strength. Now it is UMMC and that generally means a L for everyone. They can cling on to the hope their defense slowed down Ekaterinburg earlier in the season, but out of form and having a big wobble, things are suddenly looking pressurized for CCC. The difference in points per game averages is worryingly vast. Can they keep it ugly?


Carolo Basket - Any feelings of disappointment that they feel like they are on a bit of a slide in EuroLeague Women were probably put to bed when they beat Bourges over the weekend. That will give them a big boost and they will need it with Dynamo Kursk next up in the house. Keeping Breanna Stewart in check will be vital and competing physically with Quanitra Hollingsworth. But, buoyed by beating Bourges in the French League, there will be no pressure against Kursk and they can enjoy it.


Famila Schio - It was a case of eighth time lucky as Pierre Vincent and his team finally won a game of basketball in this competition. Will 2019 usher in more positive results? It should be the case and even a late run at a EuroCup Women spot could be on the cards. They shut down Castors Braine brilliantly and it was an overwhelming victory and so nice to see veteran star Raffaella Masciadri roll back  the years. But now they face a true test of whether they have turned the corner and are capable of pulling away from a terrible end to 2018. Praha on the road is going to be very difficult, even more so after the home side come into the contest off the back of a rare defeat. Keeping pace offensively with Praha will be so, so difficult and the Italians must control the tempo.


Olympiacos - The wait continues. 0-8 looks terrible and yet it was a familiarly competitive, combative and 'what might have been' story against Fenerbahce. Olympicaos continue to be awkward to play against, almost always in the game in the last period, but just not yet able to convert potential into history and a much sought-after first win. Sopron is a tough home assignment - not least because the visitors can slam the defensive door shut. Olympiacos continue to operate well as a collective unit, but they need a game-winner to emerge. They still lack that killer instinct and 2-3 difference-makers. 


ESBVA-LM - It was an inevitable loss at UMMC last week and could have been a lot worse, but ESBVA-LM kept fighting and we won't know how much the hosts took their foot off the gas, but the spirit should not have been dented. Still confidence is low since ESBVA-LM have struggled in the French League overall, are 2-6 in this competition and so must be loving it is Castors Braine making the short hop into France. Yes, one opponent who has even more trouble offensively than Villeneuve do! But the main point is that outside of the impressive Magali Mendy, almost every other player on the roster has been mediocre or below par. Time for somebody else (or two, or three) to step up!


Castors Braine - It was a truthfully desperate performance from Castors Braine who made it seven defeats in a row with that dismal defeat in Italy. The arrival of new faces made little difference to the outcome and we had forgotten to note in our previous power rankings that WNBA player Karlie Samuelson had a broken finger. The lack of quality and also confidence was evident as they got locked down in a big way. Can they recover? Well, they have a cross-border derby clash at ESBVA-LM and a game they should at least feel they can compete in. They will also want revenge for an agonizing 49-51 home loss, the start of their rotten run of results!

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