09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
Frederic Dusart (ESBV)
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Power Rankings: Who's making a splash and who's sinking with just four Regular Season games to go?

MUNICH (Germany) - There is no change to our top four this week, but a few surprise results have seen some unfancied teams moving up our list as we approach season crunch time.

Here are our Power Rankings heading into Week 11:






Dynamo Kursk - There was three quarters of struggle against Olympiacos but the class of Sonja Petrovic and Breanna Stewart proved too much as Dynamo Kursk eased away. A perfect 10-0 and they booked their Play-Off ticket. We were wondering if to push them back down to second spot, but the addition of a reigning WNBA champion in Natasha Howard made us resist, as the center bolsters the frontcourt rotation and reunited with her Seattle Storm teammate, Stewart. Will they be defeated for the first time when they play at Fenerbahce? Very possibly in what looks their biggest test of the season.


UMMC Ekaterinburg - Another win for UMMC as they dispatched an under-strength Nadezhda very comfortably to also move to a flawless 10-0 and book their Play-Off spot. Were they stung by our decision to drop them from pole position last week? Maria Vadeeva was in great form and the pick of their star players with a sweet double-double. They are up against an out of sorts Praha on the road which could be tricky, but with head coach Miguel Mendez relentless about the concept of team-ball and working as a family on and off the court, they are still big favorites. The chemistry seems perfect.



Fenerbahce - Fenerbahce did it again by showing their resilience down the stretch to win another close one at the end. Their success in Sopron was dramatic and also notable for Cecilia Zandalsini coming alive with her highest ever score in EuroLeague Women. Her 24 points and plays in the clutch were vital. Fenerbahce were also boosted by a derby win against Galatasaray over the weekend.Now 7-3 and flying, it is the Game of the Week ahead as they must welcome Dynamo Kursk and prove they are Final Four material. The first game was terrific and all of us neutrals are praying for a repeat. It is also a return to Istanbul for former center and Turkey national team star, Quanitra Hollingsworth.

Bourges Basket - Bourges Basket looked like they might get torched by returning favorite Valeriane Ayayi who briefly got hot early for Praha, but the home side eased away impressively as she faded. It was such an important victory mentally after a serious wobble in the LFB at Le Prado lately. Alexia Chartereau came up with her best game of the season which was a bonus and this week, they will be subject to more reunions. They host the unpredictable Schio and former Bourges playcaller Pierre Vincent.

TTT Riga - What a win at Avenida, what a season and also what a chance they have ahead of them to make the Play-Offs. Especially as they have Carolo Basket to play in the next game and even if the French side are a different proposition on their home court, opportunity knocks loudly for Riga to go an amazing 7-4 and beyond anyone's wildest dreams. With their hard work, team concepts and stylish basketball style, they continue to be one of the stories of the 2018-19 season, but there are still four games remaining and it can still blow up in their faces. Time to focus.

Nadezhda - After riding high for a number of weeks and as one of the in-form teams in the competition, it was still kind of predictable that Nadezhda would succumb at the DIVS Arena against UMMC. Even more so with Laura Nicholls absent. Her return will be integral to the Russian side getting back on track at home to Castors Braine which should see Nadezhda coasting to victory, but there are always surprises and they must not slip on this possible banana skin. Brionna Jones and Nicholls will look to dominate inside the paint and it is likely to be a physical edge which brings the hosts the W.

Sopron Basket - They came close to making up for their fall at lowly Olympiacos, but were just bitten by Fenerbahce who Sopron playcaller Roberto Iniguez admitted had played better for longer. The prospect of a third straight loss is a painful one. The truth is that they don't really know how Avenida will react after losing their own head coach Lino Lopez last week and what the returning Miguel Ortega will be able to achieve and how quickly. If Jewell Loyd suits up for Avenida, there will be a super-entertaining matchup with Yvonne Turner to savor. Sopron have also bolstered their backcourt with the return of veteran Kata Honti, who is putting her playing shoes back on, in order to help  with injuries that are causing a toll.


CCC Polkowice - The Polkowice fans must had wondered what had happened when they allowed an opponent on an eight-game losing streak to score almost 30 first-quarter points last week. But, keeping calm and carrying on, Coach Kovacik and his side worked their way back and impressively, managed to cruise to the win at Castors Braine. They have a brilliant opportunity to go 6-5 this week at home to ESBVA-LM , although their opponents' victory at Schio will have been an important and timely wake-up call that they can't be taken for granted. Stella Kaltsidou and Jo Leedham-Warner are up against their former club and who remembers that freakishly low scoring first encounter? Could be fascinating.

ZVVZ USK Praha - They really do not like 2019, do they? Having posted that record start to the season, it looks more likely than not ZVVZ USK Praha will fall to a worrying fourth straight loss this week, since UMMC are in town. On the flip side, after losing three in a row, this would be just the kind of victory to revive their flagging season. But no wins in the competition this calendar year is beginning to look serious. They competed in Bourges last week, but never truly looked like winning. After being 6-1, they are now having to look over their shoulder in what has become a definite season of two halves. Not enough top players are stepping up on a consistent basis. Maybe one of the reasons former CCC Polkowice center Isabelle Harrison has just arrived to try and give them more power in the paint.


Famila Schio - Well that wasn't supposed to happen, was it? Having won their first game of the season and then following it up with a maiden road success at Praha, it seemed all the momentum was with Schio ahead of the ESBVA-LM home game. Most observers were anticipating three victories in a row and maybe the Schio players were. But, it's two steps forward and one step back. Was this the loss that smashed their EuroCup Women dreams? They are really going to have to have a strong last four weeks and Bourges are going to be seriously tough. Can the French contingent of Coach Vincent and Sandrine Gruda make it a happy trip home?


Hatay - What a wonderful and unexpected result. In many ways, perhaps one of the biggest shocks of the season. That is on the basis that not only did the Turkish side score a joint-lowest tally of the season with their paltry 36 points in Riga during Week 9, they also lost the sharp-shooting Hind Ben Abdelkader and powerhouse Courtney Paris, with the WNBA duo both  leaving the club. Yet despite this background, they prevailed against Carolo with a super victory as playmaker Riquna Williams and winger Katsiaryna Snytsina both went off! Perhaps rumors of their demise have been premature and they also have a winnable game at Olympiacos next.


ESBVA-LM - They receive a deserved lift upwards after that superb victory on the road at Schio. They just didn't read the script at all. Most observers had been expecting the out-of-form French side to succumb. But, it will have been hugely satisfying that they did it without massive single contributions, but via many players all scoring double figures. That will boost team confidence and perhaps with another road trip this week, they have shown that CCC are not a lock to win this one. Whatever happens in Polkowice, ESBVA-LM  have really given their EuroCup Women prospects a massive boost.


Perfumerias Avenida - It's all gone wrong for Perfumerias Avenida after they lost a fourth consecutive home game to fall away to 4-6. Head coach Lino Lopez has been fired after that capitulation against TTT, and they badly need an injection of class and scoring power via their new signing Jewell Loyd. The return of Miguel Ortega is an interesting one. They say never go back. Although in his case, maybe there was some unfinished business.  But, he will really have to sort things out quickly because they face a Sopron team on the road who are determined not to lose three in a row.


Olympiacos - They had to take another defeat on the chin as they dropped to 1-9 but you've guessed it, the performance still impressed. The final margin of the win for Dynamo Kursk flattered the title hopefuls, since the Greeks gave them 25-30 minutes of big problems. This season could have been so different for Olympiacos with a bit more luck or with another high level player. Still, they are not completely out of the EuroCup Women picture just yet and will feel confident of beating Hatay and taking successive home wins – if they can keep Riquna Williams under lock and key.


Carolo Basket - They had been flying in the French League heading to Antakya, but their EuroLeague Women struggles continue. Facing a Hatay team in absolute turmoil and who had lost two of their biggest hitters, they crashed to a loss – despite a spectacular performance from Hailey Peters which deserves big applause. In mitigation, Carolo were without the highly influential Kaleena Lewis. Things don't get any easier with a matchup against the high flying TTT Riga, but at least it is on home soil.


Castors Braine - It's hard to know where to go or what to even say any more with Castors Braine. They lost their ninth game in a row and it was particularly disappointing because they had an amazing 29-19 start against CCC Polkowice and seemed like they could really push for the win. Not only did they lose, but like against ESBVA-LM the previous week, they fell apart in spectacular fashion in the last part of the game. It was a real downer because they had Karlie Samuelson back and arguably their strongest roster to date. The end of the season can't come quickly enough - not least with a tough road trip to Orenburg next on the menu.

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