25 September, 2019
19 April, 2020
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Power Rankings: Fenerbahce leap onto the podium, Schio on the rise

MUNICH (Germany) - With the first FIBA Women's EuroBasket Women Qualifiers window done and dusted, it's time to shift the focus back on the long race towards EuroLeague Women 2020 glory via our latest Power Rankings.

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TTT Riga - Just when you think you have hit rock bottom with a winless 0-4 start, life kicks you in the stomach  again. It's UMMC next  for the struggling Latvians.  They've made changes to try and spark their season into life, including Linnae Harper going out for WNBA guard Marina Mabrey. She could hardly have a tougher debut  than against the champs.  It still looks bleak for TTT and they have Nadezhda in Orenburg after this pending home fixture.


Castors Braine - It might be a bit tough to be 15th as they have been very competitive, which is usual for a Fred Dusart team. At 1-3, they  need to make the most of games with Reyer Venezia on the road and Cukurova at home if they want to stop being cut adrift.  They need to keep doing good work on the glass but offensively, more is needed outside of Shaqwedia Wallace and Celeste Trahan-Davis. They must also tighten up taking care of the ball.


Reyer Venezia - They return from the break having stewed over what was their worst performance and result of the season when they folded against Nadezhda. However, it's a great time to start over as they can target two wins from their next three games with  Castors Braine, ZVVZ USK Praha and TTT Riga on the menu.  Their three-point game needs improving a lot and it's now time for the Italian players to stand up and contribute more. 


Spar Citylift Girona - The season has still not really started for the Spanish champions . It's a slight fall for them since they did get that first win against Sopron but then failed in crunch time in a tear-jerker at Arka Gdynia. That was on top of losing in Liga Feminina to Gernika Bizkaia. The lack of rebounding and marquee signing Sonja Petrovic has hurt them and they need to stay mentally strong with games to come against Kursk, BLMA, Schio and Fenerbahce. 


Bourges Basket - Okay, so it was 'only' against TTT Riga and Castors Braine in two games that Bourges should always be winning, taking into account their roster. However, it was impressive after their forgettable 0-2 start that they dealt with the pressure and quickly got back on track. Three wins in a row could be feasible with Cukurova at home - despite losing Isabelle Yacoubou to illness. That is because they have swooped to sign Natalie Achonwa. Marissa Coleman remains the key, while both Ana Dabovic and Elin Eldebrink return in-form after the international window which is a big positive.



Arka Gdynia - That was so huge. Winning that close game against Girona was so important because it looked and felt like a reward for the way they have played all season long. Despite the fact they were 0-3 before that victory. The trademark teamwork will continue, Bec Allen was brilliant against Girona and Barbora Balintova is playing very nicely too. Time to travel now though, with games at Sopron and Lyon - can they take a first road win of the campaign?


Gelecek Koleji Cukurova - Nobody could have seen a rise up the rankings when they were dismantled 82-28 in Prague. But,  the tide has turned quickly from desperation to excitement. Having recovered with a pivotal overtime win against  TTT Riga, they have reloaded their roster in a big way. Belarus NT and WNBA guard Alex Bentley comes on board, plus USA forward Morgan Tuck and Turkey NT center, Lara Sanders. This could be a season-changer for them and it's a double road trip next to Bourges and Castors Braine.

Sopron Basket - The energy and enthusiasm from those first two successes of the season have faded slightly in the wake of a consecutive defeats to Girona and Lyon. But in both of those games, they were decided in the clutch and so Sopron should not be downhearted. They could easily be 4-0 or 3-1 instead of 2-2. Gdynia at home is an opportunity to avoid three losses in a row ahead of a trip to Kursk, so it is a crunch one. Offensive firepower remains the issue, with only Cukurova having scored fewer points this season.


  BLMA - We get you.  It looks unfair that BLMA get to move upwards (even if only a little) after going 1-1 since the last rankings. But, they did sweep aside Dynamo Kursk and only lost a tight one against Famila Schio and that was in Italy.  These next two games are huge against LDLC Asvel Feminin and Fenerbahce.  A difference-maker would be Sami Whitcomb getting her outside game going, with BLMA so clinical from two-point range.


Dynamo Kursk - After successive double-digit losses to BLMA and Fenerbahce, a drop down our list was inevitable. The positive news was that just when you need your FIBA Women's EuroBasket MVP back on the floor, the injured Astou Ndour is apparently back in  contention. These next games against Girona, Sopron and Gdynia hand Kursk great opportunity to recover from their mini-slump. Getting more backcourt scoring production  from Marta Xargay, Epiphanny Prince and Nika Baric  is essential as collectively, they can shoot the ball better.


LDLC ASVEL Feminin - A minor drop after a mixed couple of weeks which saw a 10-point loss to Schio and a recovery with a nail-biting win against Sopron. It's now domestic rivals BLMA and Gdynia in this next fortnight. It's a positive that Lyon have  played nicely as a team with multiple contributors so far in this campaign, while Marine Johannes showed that she is a game-winner with her late buckets against Sopron. They just need to shift up one more gear.


Nadezhda - It's a rise for the Russian club who are a very nice 3-1 after wins versus Castors Braine and Reyer Venezia. It's a great challenge next though, when we will maybe see their true potential with a road game at Praha. Laura Nicholls has waved goodbye during the international break and even if she was not claiming big numbers, her experience will be missed. But with Yvonne Turner still in top gear, they have a special player in great form.


Famila Schio - This time last season, Pierre Vincent watched on in horror as everything went wrong . What a change in the feeling after Schio and their French playcaller helped themselves to a double over opposition from his homeland - catching the eye with victories against both BLMA and LDLC ASVEL Feminin. Now it is Fenerbahce and it will be all about the defense as usual. They have held their opponents to 60 points or under in all but one game so far! Jillian Harmon has really stepped up and she is forming a nice 1-2 punch with Sandrine Gruda. 


ZVVZ USK Praha Only a modest drop of one place after losing to UMMC. Nadezhda are the next visitors, followed by Reyer Venezia. Second top scorers, second most rebounds and second most assists, Praha may have a loss in the column but they still look classy. Plus, they have also added rising star Veronika Vorackova to the mix to add greater depth. Now they just need to make more free-throws as they are the worst in the tournament for this.


Fenerbahce Oznur Kablo It's been a great couple of gamedays for as they bounced back to beat both Arka Gdynia and Dynamo Kursk in convincing fashion. Alina Igaupova is the form player of the competition at the moment. They have also added quality and experience with the signing of Laura Nicholls. She showed she can deliver success with Coach Lapena when winning the EuroCup Women title last year. Next up is a big test though with Schio at home and then BLMA on the road, when we will see their true Final Four potential. 



UMMC Ekaterinburg - The champs passed that test at ZVVZ USK Praha by outlasting their in-form rivals with the victory following on from a commanding success at Reyer Venezia.  With struggling TTT Riga next up and Bourges Basket at home, it's hard to see UMMC dropping a game right now. Especially as Alba Torrens is coming back and it is anticipated that the recently naturalized Bosnia and Herzegovina star Jonquel Jones will also be suiting up. Seriously, how stacked?

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

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen

The EuroLeague Women Power Rankings are put together by our panel, led by FIBA's women's basketball specialist Paul Nilsen. He eats, sleeps and breathes female hoops and is incredibly passionate about the promotion of the women's game at all levels. Paul uses an extensive network of players, coaches, clubs and Federations to shape his work and opinions.