25 September, 2019
19 April, 2020
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USK Praha jump into pole position, BLMA and Gdynia make major upward moves

MUNICH (Germany) - With only two games remaining ahead of the winter break, things are beginning to take shape in each group and it's resulted in significant changes to our latest set of Power Rankings. 

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Reyer Venezia - It's a bleak looking scenario right now for the Italian side who have had two horrendous losses since our last rankings, going down by 17 to Castors Braine and 27 points against Praha.  Bottom of Group A, the only way is up and fans will be hoping they  can finish 2019 on a high. They have a crunch game with TTT Riga next and the perfect chance to turn the tide. But until they start playing defense - don't hold your breath!


Gelecek Koleji Cukurova - No, we don't understand what is happening at Cukurova either! They drafted in some major talent and  then delivered toothless 30-point losses against Bourges and Braine. You can probably cut and paste our assessment of Reyer Venezia when it comes to non-existent defense. Even if 2-4 doesn't look a disaster, what are the chance they are 2-6 after a home game against UMMC and then a road trip to Orenburg to face Nadezhda? Ouch.


Sopron Basket - The wheels have come flying off! They were like a Formula 1 racing machine in those exhilarating opening weeks, but now Sopron are stalling badly and limping around the track. They are on a four-game losing streak and while several of those have been close, their last outing at Kursk was a hammering. Even if Schio and BLMA are tough next up, they will at least be relieved to get back in front of their fans. But where are the points coming from? Every bucket looks like hard work right now and without their big stars firing, the offensive locker looks worryingly bare! At least they have chosen this week to bring back Queralt Casas who was always a spark for them last season.


TTT Riga - The win against UMMC was the most amazing night of the club's history since Latvia gained independence. That speaks volumes and Martins Zibarts and his players deserve serious credit. They were ranked last and UMMC number one and yet somehow they did it. Importantly they also competed hard at Nadezhda before being eased out. Binta Drammeh is playing well and the decision to make roster changes including bringing in Marina Mabrey looks a masterstroke. Reyer Venezia at home is an opportunity as Praha on the road the week after looks a step too far - although we said that about the game with UMMC! 


Castors Braine - What a super couple of weeks for the coaching staff, the players and the fans. For the first time in two years, the Belgian side claimed successive wins. Head coach Fred Dusart would surely have taken 3-3 after six games and eyeing up a top four place in the group. The big road win at Venezia built confidence and that was evident as Celeste Trahan-Davis proved unstoppable in the victory against Cukurova. Hopefully they have enjoyed it because there are no more difficult back-to-back games than against UMMC and Praha.



Bourges Basket - A modest move because nobody can criticize too much for a heavy loss in Ekaterinburg although the margin was a little alarming. But on the flip side, Bourges did batter Cukurova at Le Prado prior to that. Their 3-3 record is indicative of a team yet to really get going and find much rhythm. Two home games to finish 2019 present a glorious opportunity to have confidence heading into 2020. Reyer Venezia should be a win on paper and Nadezhda is a great test of where Bourges are at and where they want to be. They must win. 


Spar Citylift Girona - These last couple of weeks have seen some improvement from Girona who celebrated a massive home win against Kursk before just being pipped on the road in a tight one at Schio. The main challenge is who is there in crunch time as that wasn't the only close one loss this season. At times, the lack of a deadly three-point shooter has hurt them, along with not having Sonja Petrovic for the business end of games.  At least she is now finally in situ and will be stepping out. Currently 2-4, they finish this first part of the campaign with a double-header at home to BLMA and Fenerbahce, meaning their entire season could be shaped in this next 7-10 days. 

LDLC ASVEL Feminin - So, so disappointing. We originally had them as possible Final Four contenders, but after the last couple of results, they are not even in our Top 8 now! The air is coming out of the balloon quickly and they look short on confidence, which is alarming as they are performing domestically. That 16-point loss against Gdynia last week at home is a real low point. They have the quality to turn it around even if they are staring down the barrel of a 2-6 start if they fail against Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kursk next up. That is at least a possibility and would be horrific against expectation.   Must improve - and quickly!



Arka Gdynia - Red hot! Yes, that early season promise of their performances but no wins, has been transformed into results now. What a job by Gundars Vetra and his players to bounce back from 0-3 to rack up three wins on the bounce! They have also done it in style with road wins at Sopron and Lyon. Now, can they make it four or even five straight victories against Kursk and Schio? On paper they would have been underdogs previously, but not now. Barbora Balintova is killing it in the backcourt, Marie Guelich, Maryia Papova and Bec Allen are proving to be a tremendous frontline - so what's not to love? Enjoy it, Gdynia fans! 


Dynamo Kursk - We've kept Kursk static, despite them showing the green shoots of recovery with a mammoth win at home to Sopron - helped by a bolstering of resources with the incoming Glory Johnson. Before that success, they were left crumpled by an 18-point loss at Girona, which was their third in a row. It hasn't been easy for Roberto Iniguez and we'll see if they have turned the corner in these next travel games against Gdynia and Lyon. The rebounding is still awful - the worst in the competition and that's a priority if wins are to come.


Nadezhda - A slight fall for the Orenburg club after a home victory against TTT last week, having been shot down convincingly at Praha before that. We still like the look of Nadezhda in the main, but they need to prove themselves against a top team if they want to dream of the post-season and even Final Four. They should see off Cukurova and then must compete against UMMC. If only the usually vibrant Erica Wheeler (who we love) can find that higher offensive gear shown in 2018-19. Could that be the spark for the next step?


Famila Schio - It was a disappointing display in Istanbul a few weeks ago when they were suffocated and only scored 43 points against Fenerbahce. They at least showed heart and guts to hit back in a tight one against Girona. Their defense always has to be top drawer in any game with their limited offensive output which means extra pressure if another team makes shots early. It was good to see Eva Lisec post her best game of the season recently. So far, Schio must be congratulated and with Sopron and Gdynia on the road, we will see what the Italians are made of. Can they convert better from two-point range and end 2019 with some road wins? 


BLMA - Major. Major. Major. What a couple of weeks for the French team who find themselves in a three-way tie at the top of their group with a 4-2 record. A massive home win against Dynamo Kursk was followed by an incredibly memorable , entertaining and dramatic success against Fenerbahce. Sami Whitcomb and Romane Bernies has come alive at the perfect time to support Steph Mavunga and they have the momentum. They now hit the road at Girona and Sopron so they must show they can do it on the road too if they want to be the real deal.


Fenerbahce Oznur Kablo - It's been a mixed couple of weeks for the Istanbul juggernauts having beaten Schio impressively with a typically awesome defensive lockdown, then falling to BLMA in that thriller last week. They have a couple of tricky tests ahead with firstly Lyon and then Girona on the road. They will be favorites, although have they got too much loaded onto Alina Iagupova and Cecilia Zandalasini? The former's efficiency rating is incredible and combined, they have scored more than half the team's points this season. Is there a Plan B if one of them, or both hit a dry patch?


UMMC Ekaterinburg - The brutal reality is that UMMC lost against the bottom seed a few weeks ago at TTT Riga. It showed they are not infallible and maybe it will be a blessing in disguise for Coach Mendez and his star laden roster. On any given night in this competition, someone can cause an upset. The focus will be massive after that night in the Latvian capital. They recovered with a brutal dismantling of Bourges. Jonquel Jones is now on board and Alba Torrens is to be back soon. Heading into 2020, you would not be surprised if they climbed back onto their Power Rankings throne. Cukurova and Nadezhda are next.



ZVVZ USK Praha - The blistering form of Cristina Ouvina has been a big plus in the past couple of weeks and added much to a side already with proven performers. The beauty of this is that the Spaniard was one of the few newcomers added to the already super chemistry and productivity. Praha  have recorded crushing wins against Nadezhda and Reyer Venezia and finish the calendar year with home games against Riga and Bourges. If they keep concentration, they have an amazing chance to move to 7-1. 

*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.