05 October, 2016
12 April, 2017
Sparta&K v Besiktas; 14 Olga NOVIKOVA (Sparta&k M.R. Vidnoje)
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EuroCup Women Preview: Group A

MUNICH (EuroCup Women 2017) – With the EuroCup Women Qualifiers now in the history books, it's time to take a look at who will be fighting it out in the Regular season, starting with Group A.

Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje are former four-time EuroLeague Women winners and remain one of the great European women's clubs – even if resources have fallen from the halcyon days of the past when they were the number one team on the planet. Nowadays they are forging a new kind of reputation for excellence, due to their continual production of jaw-dropping Russian talent which is keeping them competitive both at home and in EuroCup Women where they have featured for the past two campaigns.

This season they are younger than ever and will be looking to head coach Alexander Vasin to continue working his magic. Inspiration will come from Daria Kolosovskaia who is emerging as a real leader and has broken through to the senior Russia national team ranks under her club play-caller. Daria Namok brings EuroBasket Women experience and occupies the shooting guard slot, while that position has been bolstered by Croatian rising star Ivana Dojkic, with American Whitney Knight also hopping on board. Back on a Russian theme, just some of those on board include the reliable Olga Novikova, a young player who is silky smooth and possessing a nice basketball IQ in Kamilla Ogun and Maria-Margarita Davydova who comes in via the NCAA and Liga Femenina.

Maccabi Bnot can feel confident they are the favourites after completing an exciting recruitment drive which has seen them pile the talent high. The Israeli Cup winners and Champions made it all the way to the Semi-Finals last time and they look to have a similarly impressive roster this time around. Guard Naama Shafir was a big pick-up in the off-season and she will line-up alongside Israel national team colleague Shay Doron in the backcourt, with both offering significant scoring power. The addition of Swedish star Farhiya Abdi is the most exciting news as her athletic ability will be a big boost and her WNBA court time is matched by Tiffany Jackson and Allison Hightower, while Courtney Paris could prove an absolute colossus in the paint.

Novi dres 👌🖒💪😂 #Cekk #megjottazujmez #newseason #readyforrussian #triofantastico #2016

A photo posted by Medgyessy Dóra (@doramedgyessy) on

While competition newcomers VBW CEKK Cegled were relatively unknown coming into 2016-17, they have certainly made people sit up and take notice with their success in the Qualifiers against Enisey Krasnoyarsk. They erupted in spectacular style for a 22-point first leg victory and progressed comfotabkly despite a narrow defeat on Russian soil. It has been all about the contributions of the do-it-all Serbian Maja Skoric so far. She came up with a rare triple-double in that first game, while Hungarian Nora Nagy-Bujdoso is using her EuroLeague Women experience to great effect and has been a tower of strength. Cegled also have talent in playmaker Dora Medgyessy, Szidonia Katona who can put points on the board and the hard-nosed approach of center Jelena Maksimovic.

Finally, Hoptrans-Sirenos are another rookie entrant and the Lithuanians are looking for the fairy-tale to continue in the wake of their wholly unexpected LMKL Championship success last season.

They will rely on largely domestic talent to propel them on their maiden EuroCup Women adventure, with Gabriel Gutkauskaite landing after a spell at Tsmoki-Minsk, the flame-haired and exciting Dalia Belickaite ready to make a splash and a number of Championship winning players such as Rasa Zemantauskaite, Karolina Ambotaite and captain Kornelija Balciunaite all back on board. The club have also brought in American assistance in the form of Victoria Jarosz who worked out with WNBA side Dallas Wings and also Shakena Richardson.