Team Profile: Hatay BSB
ANTAKYA (EuroLeague Women 2017) – Our next stopping point on our guide around EuroLeague Women 2017 sees us stop at another rookie entrant in the shape of Hatay BSB, who head into the season off the back of a maiden Turkish Super Cup success.
Last season: Hatay BSB were the surprise package in the Turkish League as they started brightly and refused to fade away as most had predicted. Lasting the course, they posted their best-ever finish as they claimed second place behind Fenerbahce during the Regular Season and then made the Play-Off Finals.
Roster: Despite posting unprecedented success last season, the club waved goodbye to several of its personnel in the summer. Although to the considerable relief of Hatay’s fans, they managed to retrain the services of Belarus national team wing star Katsiaryna Snytsina who is the main turbo of the team as she proved last year. Her recent 24-point haul in that surprise 60-55 Super Cup Final win against Fenerbahce earlier in the week has reminded everyone of her importance. There is also a return to the locker room for influential captain Bahar Ozturk and Turkish duo Gamze Takmaz and Tugba Oral.
Meanwhile Marina Bas is suiting up again, after the double Olympian enjoyed a highly productive first season outside of her native Russia last year. The other main contributors are likely to be new arrivals, with big things expected in the paint from the power-packed Courtney Paris and Olympic bronze medallist Dragana Stankovic. The all-important point guard position is being filled by Australian Natalie Hurst, who brings experience of EuroLeague Women with Uni Gyor where she served up almost five assists per game in 2012-13. Jovana Popovic also flies into the backcourt from Buducnost and is looking to show she can perform at this level.
Key player: When it comes to this group of players, the unrivalled international experience of Snytsina and her ability to come up with MVP performances means all eyes will be on her to continue producing the goods. There’s no doubt that she lives and breathes the game and has found a home in Antakya. She looks like she is playing some of the best basketball of her career and it also feels like she will provide a lift in the difficult moments that will inevitably arise during any club’s maiden voyage through EuroLeague Women waters.
‘X-Factor’: Courtney Paris has been a high-level performer in many European Leagues and frequented multiple EuroCup Women seasons, yet still only has a solitary season of EuroLeague Women on her resume - and that was way back in 2010-11. How she performs will be vital to Hatay’s prospects of a positive first foray into the competition. She has to deliver offensively and not just be a premier rebounder, while a strong emphasis will be on her to step up defensively and help shut down some potentially imposing frontcourt figures.
Stat attack: Marina Bas is the only player on the entire Hatay roster who has played any EuroLeague Women minutes during the past three seasons.
Social media stars: She’s not only number one on the roster, but Katsiaryna Snytsina [syntsina] also leads the way in social media too, so check her out on Instagram along with Dragana Stankovic [draganas14].
Outlook: It looked slightly concerning when many of last year’s team departed Antakya, but the Super Cup success against Fenerbahce is likely to serve as an immeasurable confidence-booster ahead of what will be another historic season for Hatay. They don’t have huge depth of quality or experience compared to some, but their starting five and main rotation should be enough to cause problems in any game. Finding success and delivering some wins on their own floor will be particularly important and a lot will hinge on them getting off to a good start – although the schedule has not been kind. They have been handed both of the EuroLeague Women 2016 Finalists in Nadezhda and UMMC for their first two games on home soil!