28 October, 2020
18 April, 2021
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Crossing the divide: Six stars who have played for both Fenerbahce and Galatasaray

ISTANBUL (Turkey) - It's one of the most famous and fierce sporting rivalries in the world and one that will be activated when Fenerbahce Oznur Kablo and Galatasaray meet in the highly anticipated EuroLeague Women Quarter-Finals.

Down the years in the competition, a small number of  stars have faced the daunting task of crossing the Bosphorus and controversially suiting up for both of the Istanbul juggernauts. Here are the six most prominent athletes to have made made the switch.

1. Diana Taurasi

Undoubtedly the highest profile player to have crossed the divide, Taurasi moved to Fenerbahce for the 2010-11 season after those historic four titles in a row with the legendary Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje club. Her stay in the Kadikoy district was brief, averaging almost 25 points per game in seven outings before she departed prematurely. Then, amidst a deluge of controversy, she returned to Istanbul the following season, but donned a Galatasaray jersey. The guard played 18 games and while Galatasaray made the Final 8, which was played on their home floor, it was ironic that they lost in a derby against Fenerbahce which cost them a place in the Semi-Finals.

2. Angel McCoughtry

The American star is best known for her five seasons at Fenerbahce, which started in 2010-11 and came to a close at the end of the 2015 campaign. During her time with the club, she propelled them to three Finals in the competition, including the painful loss to Galatasaray in 2014. McCoughtry was eventually crowned a champion in 2017 with Dynamo Kursk, torturing Fenerbahce in the Final and now she is looking to haunt her former employers once more. She signed for their arch rivals last December and had been expected to lead their bid to make the 2021 Final Four. However, her participation in the Quarter-Finals has since been thrown into doubt as she nurses an injury Stateside. 

3. Allie Quigley

The sharp-shooter suited up with Fenerbahce during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, playing in the Final against Dynamo Kursk and Angel McCoughtry in the latter. Highly productive, her skills were recognized by Galatasaray who completed a major coup by snapping her up for the 2018 season. While it started in EuroLeague Women and with disappointment at not making the Quarter-Finals, it finished with EuroCup Women glory. Quigley was the central figure as Galatasaray claimed the silverware in an absorbing contest against Reyer Venezia. She has since won the EuroLeague Women title at UMMC Ekaterinburg.

4. Nevriye Yilmaz 

Arguably the definitive legend of Turkish basketball as the centerpiece of the national team's rise to prominence on the international stage, Yilmaz is the highest profile domestic player to have represented both clubs. In fact, the forward posted a season early in her career with Galatasaray competing in EuroLeague Women during 2000-01, before then spending seven seasons with Fenerbahce from 2005-06 onwards, with six of those spent in EuroLeague Women. During 2012, she then switched back to Galatasaray where she finished her career in 2016, having been part of the team who famously delivered the EuroLeague Women title in 2014.

5. Bria Hartley

One of the most recent 'switchers', the French national team guard signed with Fenerbahce for the 2018-19 season and caught the eye with an impressive individual season - even though it didn't lead to a trip to the Final Four. Within the next few months, Hartley had opted to make the move to Galatasaray and EuroCup Women. She made an instant splash and racked up more than 20 points per game, also handing out almost 5 assists before the pandemic cut the campaign prematurely short. Looking forward to being a part of the club's return to EuroLeague Women for the current 2020-21 season, Hartley suffered a serious injury and has missed out.

6. Quanitra Hollingsworth

Not only known for having stepped out with both clubs, Hollingsworth is also famous for her contributions to the Turkish national team, including their first ever appearance at the Olympics during London 2012. However it wasn't until the 2013-14 season that she made the move to her adopted country when she inked a deal to represent Fenerbahce. She arrived in Istanbul as a reigning EuroLeague Women champion, having ironically helped UMMC beat her new club in the 2013 Final. Within a season she was back in the title game on the same floor in Russia, but losing to Galatasaray. Hollingsworth stayed with Fenerbahce for three seasons and landed at Galatasaray last year, now tasked with taking them to the Final Four and past her former club. .