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Group B: Who can capitalize in the wide-open race?
02/10/2023
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Group B: Who can capitalize in the wide-open race?

MUNICH (Germany) - It's tough to miss a single beat of any EuroLeague Women Regular Season, but with a pool of clubs like we find in Group B for this year's edition, excitement levels rise even further. 

With arguably no significant standout favorite, or at least in comparison to some previous seasons in the competition, it looks to be one of the most balanced and wide open groups for quite some time. Trying to predict who might shine and finish in pole position is seriously difficult.

Last year's first time finalists and the super ambitious Cukurova Basketbol Mersin will be expected to post a strong challenge, as will the ever consistent ZVVZ USK Praha. Italian club Virtus Segafredo Bologna have already shown their teeth and intention with a first Italian SuperCup win recently, so have to be taken seriously, while Perfumerias Avenida always make life difficult for any visitor at Pabellon Wurzburg.

But even looking past those teams, don't write off the likes of Villeneuve d'Ascq who made the EuroCup Women Final last season, Basket Landes have already won the French Cup of Champions, while Serco UNI Gyor are looking like they have their best roster in years and KHGM BC Polkowice have a track record of taking many big scalps in recent seasons. 

How did they do last season?
Team  In Europe In the domestic league
 Perfumerias Avenida EuroLeague Women | Quarter-Finals (10-7 record)  Runners-Up | (lost 0-2 vs Valencia Basket Club)
 ZVVZ USK Praha EuroLeague Women | 4th at Final Four Champions | 3-0 vs Zabiny Brno
CBK Cukurova Basketbol Mersin EuroLeague Women | Runners-Up Runners-Up | (lost 0-3 vs Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding) 
Villeneuve d'Ascq LM EuroCup Women | Runners-Up Runners-Up | (lost 1-2 to LDLC ASVEL Feminin)  
 Basket Landes EuroLeague Women | 7th Place Group B (4-10 record)   Quarter-Finals
 Virtus Segafredo Bologna EuroLeague Women | 6th place Group A (5-9 record) Runners-Up | (lost 0-3 vs Beretta Famila Schio)
 Serco UNI Gyor  EuroCup Women | Play-Off Round 1 (4-4 record) Runners-Up | (lost 1-2 to Sopro)
 KGHM BC Polkowice EuroLeague Women | 5th place Group A (8-6 record)  Runners-Up | (lost 1-2 to Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin)
The favorite: Cukurova Basketbol Mersin

While it does look quite wide open, surely you have to still label the Turkish club as the slight favorite since they made a historic run all the way to a maiden Final Four last season and reached the title game itself. They will want to show they are becoming a genuine powerhouse club. Retaining head coach Roberto Iniguez, they have recruited positively and look capable of doing good things again with Alina Iagupova leading an influx of quality players on the rise such as Virag Kiss, Agnes Studer and Marina Mabrey.

The contender: Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Could it be a case of second time lucky for the Italian club? They missed out on the post-season during their rookie campaign in the competition, but it looks like a change of coach to Pierre Vincent, along with some smart additions in Lauren Cox and Haley Peters could do them wonders. Keeping the core of their team as been most vital though, with the backcourt of Ivana Dojkic and Cecilia Zandalasini possessing some devastating offensive firepower, while Iliana Rupert will only get more influential inside the paint. 


The star: Alina Iagupova - Cukurova Basketbol Mersin

A two-time EuroLeague Women Regular Season MVP who won the 2023 title playing against Cukurova in the Final, the Ukrainian star is back at her former club where she played some four years ago. You get the sense that Iagupova brings that added star dust and 'X-Factor' the team can harness to have another shot at landing their first EuroLeague Women crown. From her spectacular three-point shooting, to breathtaking slashes to the basket and her often overlooked passing of the rock, Iagupova is a walking highlights reel.

The rising star: Sika Kone - Perfumerias Avenida

Mali's amazing forward is ready to shine and if she gets anywhere near the exploits of performing on the international stage with the national team, EuroLeague Women fans are in for a treat. It will probably take some time to adjust and there will be a settling in period, but once she gets rolling, there is every chance that Kone can become a leading baller in this tournament during the coming years.


The question: Who will take Group B top spot? 

While Cukurova Basketbol Mersin might be labelled as the favorite and Virtus Segafredo Bologna as a contender, that could be argued strongly for some other clubs in this pool of talented teams. This is your chance to tell us who you think will finish top of the pile in a what is shaping up to be an uber-competitive group.

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