25 September, 2019
19 April, 2020
28/10/2019
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Power Rankings: Sopron soaring and Bourges Basket tumble to the basement

MUNICH (Germany) - The first two weeks of the  EuroLeague Women Regular Season are now in the books and it's time to look at all the movers and shakers in our latest Power Rankings.

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16

Bourges Basket - Le Prado was not a happy place for the home fans, players and coaching staff after being outclassed by Praha. It was brutal and considering they also lost comfortably at Venezia, we're pushing the panic button early on this one. That may be harsh and an overreaction, - but at both ends of the floor it has not been good enough.  With not as much offense as their opponents and going 2 of 24 from the perimeter ot helping, the D had to be special. It wasn't. Far from it.This next game against Riga is seriously huge. Going 0-3 is unthinkable. 

15

 

 

TTT Riga - Maybe we were optimistic in our first rankings and the lack of depth and top level EuroLeague Women experience is looking an issue. Still without Kitija Laksa these early weeks are a grind and especially after that home loss to Praha was compounded by a painful close defeat to Braine. The upside is that having Bourges next means they might smell some blood in the water and with home support, make it third time lucky. They desperately need to improve their finishing at the bucket and not get caught jacking up too much from outside after splashing 30 attempts from 3-point range in Belgium. 

14

Arka Gdynia - Gdynia almost beat Schio on the road and only lost narrowly at home to BLMA. They may rue these missed opportunities in the peak of winter when the long season slog becomes intense and they are looking for wins. They have shot well from distance, have made free-throws, but not had the clutch player to get it done down the stretch. It's Fenerbahce in Istanbul next on the menu. The big bright spot is just how competitive they have been and last time in Turkey during the Qualifiers, they won at Botas! Several players are contributing which is also positive and now  Marie Guelich has also joined the production party.

 13

 

 

Castors Braine - We had them in 16th place in our first rankings and it has been a good reaction for sure. Getting pulverized after 20 minutes by UMMC, they really showed a lot of heart and character in the first game to hit back at the champions and not give them an easy ride. That respectable loss was followed by a super tight victory against TTT that gets them off the mark. Shaqwedia Wallace has got the hot hand and if they can just look after the ball slightly better, they can continue on an upward curve. 

12 


Reyer Venezia - If the Italians wanted to make an impression on their return to the competition for the first time in 10 years, and did it in that first game when they took down Bourges with relative ease. However, losing to Cukurova might feel a little sore, because the opportunity was there for a dream 2-0 start. Having towering Lithuanian Gintare Petronyte on the floor makes them a different team and if Jolene Anderson can find her range from downtown, in addition to the creative skills shown so far, they will continue to compete and be dangerous.

11 

 

Gelecek Koleji Cukurova - That was huge, huge, huge. Winning that close game against Reyer Venezia was so important because of an opening day defeat and the fact their next game is at ZVVZ USK Praha which will be so difficult. Nia Coffey chose a great time to rally bring it and only just missed out on the Team of the Week for her efforts against Venezia. With Leo Rodriguez on fire and showing her top drawer shooting game, they would have settled for 1-1 after these first couple of games.

10 

Spar Citylift Girona - Short-handed, including missing the magnificence of Sonja Petrovic, it's hard to be too scathing of Girona so far. They look like a team missing depth and experience at this level and it has been a rough initiation. They almost came back to surprise Fenerbahce on day one but were well beaten in Lyon last week. Now they have two winnable games on paper with Sopron at home and Gdynia away. But they are just not rebounding the basketball and that makes life an uphill struggle at the elite level.

 

BLMA - The home loss to Sopron on opening day was a big blow. It was not in the script, but BLMA showed the strength to react with a road win at Arka Gdyina. They are a potential Top 8 team this season, but that loss against Sopron could come back to bite them. These next two games are serious with Kursk at home and Schio on Italian soil. Leaving it to the trio of Stephanie Mavunga, Sami Whitcomb and Gabby Williams is not an option. It's time for the Europeans and especially the French players to show their teeth. They are collectively better than they have shown so far.

 

 

Famila Schio - Head Coach Pierre Vincent must not know whether to laugh or cry after winning a tight one at home to Gdynia and losing a tight one away at Kursk. To be 1-1 is probably exactly where most people expected at this stage. But it could easily have been 0-2 or 2-0. Marquee signing and the hugely talented Diamond DeShields has started her career in the competition 1 of 18 and things will surely get better. Schio are the only team scoring under 60 points per outing, but the massive positive is that they stay in games because they control the glass in a big way. So once those shots start dropping and DeShields comes alive - we're tipping them to climb these rankings.

7

Nadezhda - One big win and one big loss so far for George Dikeoulakos and perhaps both results were predictable, so only a very slight fall for the Russians. The real test for Nadezhda is only just coming up in the form of home games against Castors Braine and Reyer Venezia. Anything less than a 3-1 record after those will be a big disappointment. New signings Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe and Yvonne Turner have showed some bite, but last year's EuroCup Women champions need to turn the dial back up now.

6

Fenerbahce - A fall for Fenerbahce is warranted after they almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at home to Girona, before losing a tight one at Sopron. There looks to be a problem at the playmaking spot so far and a lack of depth in general - or at least compared to previous years. They are not crashing the offensive boards and have not applied enough pressure defensively. Offensively Alina Iagupova and Cecilia Zandalasini have showed some flashes of brilliance and as a team, they've shot well from downtown. They have to beat Arka Gdynia this week., since it is Dynamo Kursk on the road after that. An interesting campaign so far for Coach Lapena and Co!

5

Sopron Basket - Wow. Wow. Wow. What a couple of wins to start the season and a new chapter. We had Sopron turning a page but potentially struggling with BLMA away and Fener at home. However,  they are 2-0 and rolling so strong! Proving everyone (well mainly us) wrong, the way they looked after the ball against Fenerbahce was amazing and when you have one of the most underrated veterans around like Zsofia Fegyverneky playing like that and making clutch triples, what is not to love? The return of Jelena Brooks has been massive as she was the MVP of the BLMA success and now they must continue their brilliant momentum with two tough road trips to Girona and Lyon.

4

 

 LDLC ASVEL Feminin - It's only a slight drop for the French newcomers as they are 1-1 having lost their first ever outing at Kursk, prior to that historic maiden win and demolition of Girona. They certainly have talent but must take care of some core things at this level, such as spilling the ball far too many times. What is most exciting is that these next two games will probably give us a true measure of their Final Four ambitions. They have Schio on the road and Sopron at home. Be honest- you're like us right? You could see Lyon winning both, losing both or splitting these games. In truth, we have not seen enough to have justified us putting them a mighty high 2nd spot in our first rankings. 

3

Dynamo Kursk - Our promotion and highlighting of the Roberto Iniguez and DeWanna Bonner reunion was a no-brainer and the pair have delivered. Kursk have won both home games against capable opposition in Lyon and Schio. Their star player has made the Team of the Week twice, so the only issues are whether they have all their eggs in the 'Bonner basket' and now, whether they can do it on the road. BLMA will be a nice test for them. One other positive is Nika Baric doing a nice job in a move that has flown under the radar a little bit.

2

ZVVZ USK Praha - Did the 2018-19 season actually ever end? They have not missed a beat have they? Two road wins in the bag and we think that despite some eyebrows being raised by us having them as high as the 3 spot in our first rankings, our faith has been justified. Especially when you see that Brionna Jones and Teja Oblak were not even in the starting five against Bourges. Slick, classy and now with Alyssa Thomas warming up nicely, they look like early Final Four contenders once again. They must avoid a slip-up this week against Cukurova and then they have UMMC at home, who if you remember, they beat last season in that same fixture!

1

 

UMMC Ekaterinburg - The reigning champions keep the top step of the podium even if they were arguably mediocre in their opener at Castors Braine when they maybe took their foot off the gas. Did UMMC get the memo that questioned their intensity levels? Maybe they did, because they were dominant against Nadezhda. Maria Vadeeva was on fire again and that 30-point display one of her best ever EuroLeague Women outings. Even in third gear as a team, they still look out of sight and are looking at everyone else in this competition in their rear view mirror.

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

FIBA