15 September, 2021
10 April, 2022
ELW 2021-22 Power Rankings vol.2
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EuroLeague Women Power Rankings, Volume 2

MUNICH (Germany) - With three games of the EuroLeague Women Regular Season now done and dusted, it's the perfect time to revisit and update the Power Rankings.

Taking into account the first volume ahead of the season tip-off, subsequent results and performances, any roster changes and of course the groups and competition system, who's making a big early impression - and who isn't?

Heading to the Quarter-Finals?

Sopron Basket are one of only three clubs with a perfect record after the opening three games of the new season

1. UMMC Ekaterinburg UMMC  (-)

Current Record: 3-0
Yes, we know, that SuperCup Women loss to Valencia was a shocker and we can't recall a stacked team throwing the ball away 27 times in a game - let alone a Final! But it's a long time since any UMMC team has been more hurt by a result. They will be stewing on this defeat through the season and using it for extra motivation to stay on top. They look far from 'champion-esque' right now, but are 3-0 and gradually welcoming back their biggest names. They have to get the 'head of the snake' Courtney Vandersloot in situ - and quick. Or there might be another bump in the road.

2. Sopron Basket SOP (+2)

Current Record: 3-0
It's a familiar and welcome story as head coach David Gaspar continues to enhance his reputation. Sopron are one of only three clubs with a perfect record, and they've done it without the massive influence of Jelena Brooks. The outstanding form of center Bernadett Hatar has been so important and mitigated the worrying void left by the departure of Tina Krajisnik. Aby Gaye is also doing a solid job and has been essential. With another new arrival, Nevena Jovanovic, settling in quickly and helping the team to play with such nice control, Sopron look capable of repeating another strong Regular Season. 

3. Perfumerias Avenida AVEN (+2)

Current Record: 3-0
It's not always been easy on the eye, but the defense is where it is at. Avenida saved their best until their most recent outing when they won handsomely at Reyer Venezia. To start 3-0 without their marquee signing, the WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, is impressive. But maximum kudos to all the players who are playing well including the experienced Silvia Dominguez, the in-form Leonor Rodriguez, the returning Emese Hof, the team leader Katie-Lou Samuelson and debutante Maria Fasoula. A nice start all-around!

The return of the do-it-all Alyssa Thomas provides a huge boost for ZVVZ USK Praha

4. ZVVZ USK Praha USK (-1)

Current Record: 2-1
A slip-up and one-point loss at BLMA means ZVVZ USK Praha don't have the 3-0 record they probably expected, but they do now have back the phenomenal duo of Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas. With that fierce one-two punch in situ, USK look so tough. Meanwhile Dragana Stankovic was one of the few new faces in the summer but has started brilliantly and is second in efficiency, while Teja Oblak has more than five assists per game. They look hungry, they look deep and, right now, they look like Final Four contenders - yet again. But we expect nothing else from a team coached by Natalia Hejkova.

5. Basket Landes BLAN (+8)

Current Record: 2-1
Maybe we are overreacting with this huge rise, but has there ever been such a dramatic turnaround in fortunes? Trampled by 40 points at Schio, Landes reacted in style to win at Fenerbahce Safiport and then dig out a nail-biting triumph against the previously unbeaten Dynamo Kursk. And, aren't we all glad Celine Dumerc postponed her retirement? Talk about a swan-song! The experience of the incoming Marianna Tolo has been fundamental, while Kendra Chery has stepped up. The good news is Landes are 2-1 and haven't even shot the ball well, at sub-40 percent. 

6. Fenerbahce Safiport FENE (-4)

Current Record: 1-2 
After opening up with a big derby win against Galatasaray, Fenerbahce suffered a shock home loss to Basket Landes and then lost by double-digits at Spar Girona. All this means there is even more pressure than usual on Victor Lapena. Alina Iagupova is not at her best, their three-point shooting is below where it needs to be and they are without Bria Hartley, Satou Sabally, Jasmine Thomas and Kiah Stokes, all of which amounts to significant mitigation. Next? Sopron Basket at home! Could it be a make or break contest even though we are only four games into the season? Some interesting weeks ahead!

7. Spar Girona GIRO (+1)

Current Record: 2-1
Despite suffering some losses domestically and having to re-adjust after the serious injury to star summer signing Michaela Onyenwere, Girona have done well in the competition. They were only just edged out by Sopron, and winning at Schio and against Fenerbahce at home has been very impressive. Kennedy Burke and Rebekah Gardner both went off, and as a team they have played so solid. If you flick through the team stats categories, the numbers will underline this because they are in the middle of the pack for more or less everything. Smiles so far and looking like it could be a compelling season ahead.

8. BLMA  (+3)

Current Record: 2-1
The two wins to start the season - at home to ZVVZ USK Praha and on the road at KSC Szekszard - have given the French side a great springboard to build from - even after a predictable home loss to UMMC. The positive aspects, aside from the 2-1 record itself, is that they have done it without the absent Ana Dabovic, they've shot the ball nicely from long-range and benefitted from the red-hot form of Olivia Epoupa. The guard has been superb and if she continues in this vein, then BLMA have a great shot at a positive season. The question is just whether they have enough depth and quality inside.

Heading to EuroCup Women?

Dynamo Kursk are currently the points per game leaders, but were beaten last time out at Basket Landes

9. Dynamo Kursk KURS(-2)

Current Record: 2-1
It's tough to know if this latest ranking is being realistic or very harsh. Dynamo Kursk do have a positive 2-1 record and came very close to being 3-0 after only just getting pipped by Basket Landes. On the other side, they played struggling VBW Arka Gdynia at home and just scraped past Galatasaray. Eva Lisec and Natasha Howard have been immense but the backcourt now needs to wake up a little to avoid losing that early momentum completely. Offensively, they have poured in more points per game than anyone else, but maybe they just need to tighten that defensive screw a little. 

10. Galatasaray GALA (-4)

Current Record: 1-2
Everyone knows that if they get it right, Galatasaray can be a top-eight team and perhaps challenge for a Final Four spot. That is why they were ranked sixth in the pre-season rankings. A big derby loss to open up was far from ideal and they blew the chance of winning a tight one at Kursk by turning it over in the last seconds. The third-time lucky victory against VBW Arka Gdynia was hugely welcomed. But overall, outside of the brilliant Tina Krajisnik and Pelin Bilgic, plus the rock-solid Anete Steinberga, they look worryingly short on productivity. 

11. Umana Reyer REYER (-3)

Current Record: 1-2
It's been a roller-coaster for the Italian champs so far and after winning nicely against KSC Szekszard, and then playing hard in Ekaterinburg, the manner of their home loss to Avenida was disappointing. They were well-beaten and looked like a team in need of some inspiration and a big lift. Fortunately for them that is coming in the form of recently crowned WNBA champion Astou Ndour. Only then we can probably truly judge if the Umana Reyer glass is half full or empty. Yvonne Anderson and Gintare Petronyte deserve praise so far for their respective displays.

12. TTT Riga TTTR (+4)

Current Record: 1-2
It's an extravagant rise, but the way that the groups are structured, one of TTT Riga, MBA Moscow and KSC Szekszard will surely always finish outside of the bottom four. TTT is the only team with a victory to their name and credit goes to head coach Martins Gulbis, since UMMC followed by Avenida was always going to be a rough opening. But the win against MBA Moscow will do wonders for Riga's confidence. Center Daugile Sarauskaite has done well, with Jasmine Thomas also being influential, so it's looking positive. Who else can make big the contributions that are needed to stay competitive?

A Regular Season ending?

Season debutantes MBA Moscow have plenty to figure out as they are one of only three clubs without a win so far

13. Famila Schio SCHI (-4)

Current Record: 1-2
The momentum from the two eye-catching wins in the Qualifiers against Valencia and Bourges, then a huge success against Landes has been halted by losses to Spar Girona and Sopron. It's difficult to put a finger on why Schio are 1-2 as they have the talent and experience - including in play-caller Giorgios Dikaioulakos who has just been named head coach of Slovenia. A lot of Schio ballers are playing fine, the team is shooting well from downtown but they just need to find that extra gear and edge - which they are capable of doing. 

14. VBW Arka Gdynia GDYN (-)

Current Record: 0-3
This season there is not that sense of injustice that they have missed out on deserved wins, which was very much the case last year. Gdynia have been off the required pace as each of the losses against Kursk, Sopron and Galatasaray were by double digits. There are times they look very capable but consistency-wise they have struggled for the full 40 minutes of games. Alice Kunek and Megan Gustafson have both been awesome but too many players have not yet risen up and they need to make some moves or it will be another season without wins.

15. KSC Szekszard KSC (-3)

Current Record: 0-3
Maybe the original ranking was optimistic and concerns about the need for reinforcements has materialized quickly. The manner of the three defeats has been disappointing with 20-plus losses against Umana Reyer and ZVVZ USK Praha on the road and defeat on home soil against BLMA means the Hungarians are still waiting to make history with a first victory. Scoring has been a big issue and you will struggle to win many games averaging less than 65 points per game - not helped by shooting an eye-watering 22 percent from downtown. Cyesha Goree and Nikolina Milic have done well in the paint, but the rest of the team needs to pick it up in the backcourt and on the wings or it will be a long struggle.

16. MBA Moscow MBA (-)

Current Record: 0-3
Another first-timer still searching for a maiden victory, MBA Moscow allowed an opportunity to slip away last week against TTT Riga. It makes the upcoming game against struggling KSC Szekszard pivotal. They can take pride in pushing Perfumerias Avenida hard on the road, but a lack of elite level ballers with experience has been compounded by throwing the ball away far too much. They don't look capable of dealing with the pressure and 22.3 turnovers per game is alarming. As is the fact that only Zhosselina Maiga has truly been able to impose herself effectively in games so far.

Disclaimer: 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.