15 September, 2021
10 April, 2022
6 Natasha Howard (D.K.)
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EuroLeague Women MVP Ladder: The way-too-early October edition

MUNICH (Germany) - There may only be two EuroLeague Women Regular Season games in the books, but have we seen enough from those who have caught fire early to suggest they will be able to last the course in the MVP race?

Yes, it's probably too soon to roll out a first MVP ladder - we hear you. Nevertheless, it's intriguing and fun to look at who's been making the early moves.

1. Natasha Howard - Dynamo Kursk


Average Stats: 19.5 PPG; 67% FG; 11.0 RPG; 2.0 APG; 27.0 EFF

It probably went under the radar a little that this warrior of a player was back in Dynamo Kursk and ready to go to war. Howard has had a lightning start and helped her team rack up a pair of home victories. She has shot brilliantly, amassed a big double-double across both opening games and has looked a physical force that will have to be reckoned with. Part of a formidable one-two punch with her teammate Eva Lisec, She is such a tough match-up on both ends of the floor and absolutely relentless. If you are a Kursk fan, you will be excited by Howard dropping anchor in the paint.

2. Olivia Epoupa - BLMA


Average Stats: 17.0 PPG; 7.5 RPG; 5.5 APG; 3.5 SPG; 20.5 EFF 

A significant chunk of this glorious unbeaten start for BLMA is down to the work of Epoupa, who was also recently called back to the French national team squad after a summer of frustration due to injury. But just a couple of games in, the playmaker looks back to her best and can reflect on a French Champions Cup success, a surprise win against ZVVZ USK Praha and tough road victory at KSC Szekszard. Points, assists, steals or boards? You got it with Epoupa. And, the fact she is top of just about every single category right now for her team speaks volumes about her super start.

3. Maria Vadeeva - UMMC Ekaterinburg


Average Stats: 20.0 PPG; 8.5 RPG; 2.5 SPG; 3.5 BPG; 26.5 EFF 

Everything is easy when you are with the juggernaut that is UMMC Ekaterinburg - right? Well maybe that's wrong. Without multiple headline performers, the current roster is still massively talented but not the one that gets the business done during season crunch time. Certainly more vulnerable early and under more pressure, it's why Vadeeva stepping up has been vital. She has made a strong case for more court time with a couple of stellar displays and defensively she has turned up the dial as the current shot-blocking leader in the competition. 

4. Eva Lisec - Dynamo Kursk


Average Stats: 21.5 PPG; 4.5 RPG; 4.5 APG; 4.5 SPG; 26.5 EFF 

There really is nothing much at all to choose between the tremendous Slovenian star Lisec and her colleague, Natasha Howard. They have been equally as brilliant this season for their team. The center has really ramped up the defensive side of her game and those 4.5 steals per game - the same as the number of her assists both underline just how much better and more influential she is becoming as a premier player in the competition. No slowing her down, if both her and Howard stay healthy, they could just prove to be the most potent and impactful frontcourt duo around.

5. Bernadett Hatar - Sopron Basket


Average Stats: 15.5 PPG; 63% FG; 11.0 RPG; 23.0 EFF 

It's two wins from two for Sopron Basket and that has been in large part due to the work of Hatar who has been a real handful for opposing defenses. A match-up headache not easily solved because of her imposing height, she has also shown other aspects of her game early and seems to be playing with more confidence than ever - perhaps as a result of having taken those first footsteps in the WNBA this past summer. If Sopron are to make yet another Final Four, then Hatar will be essential to meeting those aims and especially if she can maintain this high gear.

6. Tina Krajisnik - Galatasaray


Average Stats: 24.5 PPG; 12 RPG; 3.5 APG; 29.0 EFF 

Touted as one of the best off-season signings, Krajisnik has lived up to top billing and has been exceptional. She has not only transferred her superb consistency and form from the last few years with Sopron, she's managed to squeeze out even more. Points, rebounds, defense and that underrated ability to pass the rock and find a shooter, she's shown how important she is going to be. There might be a slight frustration that she's having to do too much too early and that Galatasaray still don't have a win, but she could barely have done any more to inspire her new team. 

7. Leonor Rodriguez - Perfumerias Avenida Salamanca


Average Stats: 11.5 PPG; 6.5 RPG; 6.0 APG; 2.0 SPG; 18.0 EFF 

While scoring-wise Rodqiguez might not be as high as others in this first ladder, the Spanish guard has shown critical leadership in helping her team to take a pair of home victories and post an unbeaten start to the competition. It has been the creative side of her game and the sheer level of work on the glass that has ben particularly impressive so far and there is a valid perspective that she might just be playing the best basketball of her career so far - even if it is is early days of this new EuroLeague Women season.

8. Alina Iagupova - Fenerbahce Safiport


Average Stats: 20.0 PPG; 8.5 APG; 6.0 RPG; 21.5 EFF

Well it just wouldn't be an MVP ladder without Iagupova, would it? Although the reigning Regular Season MVP has had a somewhat bitter-sweet start to the new campaign, she was in her usual spectacular form with a 29-point and 11-assist display in the opener which was a hugely important derby success against arch rivals Galatasaray. However the wheels then came off with that shock loss to Basket Landes in Week 2 action. Still, with Iagupova you just know this MVP ladder is one that she will inevitably climb.

9. Yvonne Anderson - Umana Reyer


Average Stats: 19.0 PPG; 4.0 APG; 3.0 RPG; 2.5 SPG; 22.0 EFF 

Having won the Italian Championship at the end of last season, prior to that glorious FIBA Women's EuroBasket gold with Serbia, plus a maiden Olympic appearance, Anderson is continuing the momentum. She looks to be playing with exceptional control as only 1 turnover in each game would exemplify and she has not slowed down in other areas and still scoring and creating well. She has put in two great shifts of work against UMMC and KSC Szekszard and in this third week, could be involved in a key match-up against Avenida's Silvia Dominguez in our Game of the Week.

10. Alice Kunek - VBW Arka Gdynia


Average Stats: 21.5 PPG; 9.0 APG; 5.5 RPG; 2.5 SPG; 28.5 EFF 

Truly a baller for all seasons, Kunek is blossoming in the competition with every passing season and with each game. She has been awesome for the Polish champions and the all-action nature of her contributions can probably also be down to her love for 3x3 which has hone that do-it-all approach. Scoring big and creating with those eye-popping 18 assists in the first two outings, you have got to love the work of the Aussie baller. She is looking for an elusive taste of victory, but hang tight, because if this fire rages on, it won't be long in coming. 

Disclaimer: The MVP Ladder, compiled by a panel of experts, is entirely subjective and is in no way a true, accurate ranking system. The ranking and all comments are purely those of the author and do not reflect the view of FIBA.