17 - 27
June 2021
Long Read
to read

FIBA Women's EuroBasket Power Rankings, Volume 4

STRASBOURG / VALENCIA (France/Spain) - The FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 is about to hit the Quarter-Finals stage and with eight nations already on the plane back home, here's a bonus volume of the Power Rankings.

Taking into account the third volume which was done before the tournament tipped-off and everything that has unfolded since the action got started, this is our last edition - we promise!

#1 France  (0)

Tournament Record: 3-0 
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 2nd
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 5th

Everything is going to plan. Intense defense has been the key, as has their depth. The fact that no French player has realistically gotten anywhere near the Gameday top performers list shows that head coach Valerie Garnier has been able to rotate incessantly, rather than needing to rely on her biggest-hitters. That might change now we are heading down the tournament stretch. But France are three wins away from where they absolutely need to be and that is firmly on the top podium step. The only downside has been the injury to Olivia Epoupa.

#2 Serbia SRB (+2)

Tournament Record: 3-0
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 3rd 
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 8th

Had it not been for that spectacular display by Sonja Vasic in the premiere, things might have been different. The forward put the team on her back and carried her nation to an overtime win against Italy. Since then, it has been relatively standard for Marina Maljkovic and her team. Yes, there have been a few bumps, but they are unbeaten and you sense they can play much better still. That is a great sign. They look particularly effective when they are pressing hard defensively and they currently lead the tournament in steals per game and are shooting the ball well from long-range. At this moment, they look and feel like a team that could upset France in a one-off knockout game - which is where we are not at. 

#3 Belgium BEL (-1)

Tournament Record: 3-0
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 5th (Quarter-Finals)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 6th

What a roller-coaster. Head coach Philip Mestdagh must be wondering what team is going to show up in these critical games coming up. He has seen the good, the bad and the ugly so far. The good being the way that Belgium ripped apart the ambitious Slovenia in brutal fashion and handed out 35 assists, more than any other team in a single game since 1995. The bad was their shocking opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina when they didn't perform, with the ugly being the way they had to dig out a narrow victory to top the group against the hapless and winless Turkey. Emma Meesseman has been immense, but too many other players are not at their best and that needs to change - quickly.

After starting with a loss, Spain are on a roll now and enjoying the event with their fans, but will they get past Serbia in the Quarter-Finals?

#4 Spain  (-1)

Tournament Record: 3-1
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 1st
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 3rd

It's so, so hard to rank the co-hosts. Perhaps, like Belgium, a move of one place downwards is fair because things have not went to plan. They did not win their group as it was expected, after being pipped to Belarus when their offense looked very ineffective. Since then, things have improved. They have played some nice team basketball, with more energy, aggression and the defense has picked up. The only downside is that they have beaten Sweden, Slovakia and Montenegro. With respect, we have yet to see them face a leading nation, which is why it is so tough. The positives are that Astou Ndour looks capable of carrying them and that experience amongst the guards is so vital. They now have a tough Quarter-Finals matchup with Serbia and nobody would back against them coming out with a victory. It's going to be epic!

#5 Russia RUS (+2)

Tournament Record: 3-1
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 8th (Quarter-Finals)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 12th

Russia came ready to ball! They have only lost once, and that was to France. They had to work hard to see off Czech Republic in their opener and maybe had that went differently they could have struggled. But, Maria Vadeeva declared that she is tired of losing so is this the year when they can make a step towards a global return and fight for the podium again after a decade away? Vadeeva has been excellent as always, Raisa Musina has proved she does her best work in a national team vest and, as predicted, Nina Glonti has emerged as a wholesome contributor. The way they destroyed Slovenia to make the last eight was incredibly impressive. It's just a pity they have lost Ekaterina Fedorenkova to a serious injury and we send our best wishes to her. 

#6 Bosnia and Herzegovina BIH (+6)

Tournament Record:  3-1
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: Did not qualify
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 34th

The story of the competition, could a fairytale win against overwhelming favorites France be lying in wait? It's already something of a fairytale isn't it? You know the basics and they keep making history as they left the group stage for the first time, made the Quarter-Finals for the first time and won three games for the first time. Now could they take the chance of moving towards a first global outing via the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments? With walking double-double Jonquel Jones, anything can happen. She has been sensational. And, for those saying it is only Jones, that is not accurate. There has been some great team ball, Marica Gajic has been excellent and so has Nikolina Babic. A great story and one that maybe has more legs and can continue to run. Well done Coach Goran Lojo!

#7 Belarus BLR (+3)

Tournament Record: 2-1
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 13th (Group Phase)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 11th

At one point, it looked like Belarus might not even get past the Qualifiers, but since they arrived they have made a splash. They took down co-hosts Spain on opening night and that is a result that they rightly celebrated wildly, as Alexandria Bentley executed down the stretch in a tight one. The loss to Slovakia was unfathomable. Nobody could quite believe it. But they recovered well to blow out Sweden, top the group and move directly to the last eight. With Bentley pulling the strings, Maryia Papova excellent, Anastasiya Verameyenka re-winding the clock to the her peak form and the team playing hard-nosed defense, they are a tough nut to crack. Maximum credit. Is there even more to come? If so, the supporting cast may need to deliver even more.

There was joy for Sweden as they made the Quarter-Finals despite missing their three leading frontcourt players at the tournament

#8 Sweden SWE (+3)

Tournament Record:  2-2
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 6th (Quarter-Finals)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 20th

It is something of a minor miracle that Sweden have made the last eight of the competition considering they are without their three main players in the paint in Zahui. Magarity and Halvarsson. So, credit to them for winning their opener against Slovakia and while they were well beaten by Belarus and Spain, what an incredible display it was to rip apart italy to make the Quarter-Finals. They moved the ball brilliantly, found the shooters and played so aggressively.It's not easy when you have lost experienced players and taken a couple of big losses to show mental strength. Credit to Coach Crespi for playing 17-year-old Emma Johansson for 31 minutes against Italy. And most of all, credit to her for standing strong. Plus, Sweden have such great leadership in the Eldebrinks and Kalis Loyd. One more win might be beyond them. We will see.

#9 Montenegro MNE (0)

Tournament Record: 1-3
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 12th (Qualification For Quarter-Finals)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 22nd

Maybe it is generous to keep Montenegro in their now customary spot. But you have to factor in that expectations were not huge and making the Qualification to the Quarter-Finals was right about where they probably expected to finish and where we had them down in these rankings! They just didn't have the depth needed to push harder for the top eight. Jelena Dubljevic was a little beaten up, Markeisha Gatling put in some nice displays  - as did Jovana Pasic and Milica Jovanovic. There was just little outside of those starters to call upon, and it showed.

#10 Slovenia SLO (-4)

Tournament Record: 2-2
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 10th (Qualification for the Quarter-Finals)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 30th

This was a huge wake-up call for the 2023 co-hosts. Expectations were big and the cold hard truth is that Slovenia did not deliver. It means they have have still not made the Quarter-Finals. The notion of them pushing for a podium seems quite fanciful now, although in mitigation, they did beat Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, they were absolutely terrible against Belgium and Russia. In both games they did not look locked-in mentally, and almost froze. The coaches and players will have learned so much from this tournament. Maybe Slovenia are simply not as good as they or many others think they are. Or, they simply didn't perform. But there is nothing more frustrating than not playing to potential and even if a tough group is a reason, they can, and should, have performed way, way better. But they will learn from it - as Nika Baric and Coach Grgic said in the last press conference.

Cecilia Zandalasini was left disappointed as her team missed out on the Quarter-Finals of the competition again as Italy flopped against Sweden

#11 Italy ITA  (-5)

Tournament Record:  2-2
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 9th (Qualification For Quarter-Finals)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 14th

Harsh and maybe unfair but what a mess to finish with. They were mediocre against Greece when winning and it proved to be a catastrophe of a performance against Sweden when missing the Quarter-Finals. Yes, they were haunted by former head coach Marco Crespi who had the inside track and that helped their opponents. But come on, you don't give up the middle to Frida Eldebrink and surely you have to run something more effective offensively. The game plan was a complete mystery and they got punished. It was poor and way below the expectations of challenging and making the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments. Cecilia Zandalasini looked like a sole warrior. The one big thing to their credit to finish on a positive is that they did treat us to that overtime game against Serbia.

#12 Croatia CRO (-4)

Tournament Record: 1-3
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: Did not qualify
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 31st

Getting blown away by France in their opener seemed to drain a lot of confidence from Croatia and they then lost in a tough one to Russia. Bouncing back in style, they did record their biggest ever FIBA Women's EuroBasket victory when crushing Czech Republic. But it was a double-digit loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina to finish and they find themselves heading home. Things just didn't seem to click like during the Qualifiers or in preparation. but of course they were playing class and confident teams on a roll. Ivana Dojkic was her usual self with some big performances but not enough players were at their maximum level. Still, they had not appeared since 2015, so it was a reasonable return.

#13 Slovakia SVK (+3)

Tournament Record: 1-2
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: Did not qualify
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 24th

You have to give credit to Slovakia because unlike the three nations below them, they managed to pick up a victory in their group and it came against Quarter-Finals-bound Belarus. It was unexpected and also arose after a tough opening loss to Sweden. Slovakia could have fielded a whole starting five of players who did not come to the event (Balintova, Hruscakova, Slamova etc...) and yet those who did make it did their nation proud and deservedly took an ovation from the handful of supporters able to be in Valencia. Ivana Jakubcova was particualrly impressive.

Alena Hanusova excelled for Czech Republic but they didn't manage to achieve a victory and left after the Group stage again

#14 Czech Republic CZE  (-2)

Tournament Record: 0-3
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 15th (Group Phase)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 16th

The wheels came off for Czech Republic after they lost their opener with Russia, which they could and maybe should have won. It was all downhill after this, losing to France and then signing off with an ugly blowout at the hands of Croatia who had also lost their first two games. Forward Alena Hanusova did well, but there was little positive work outside of her efforts, with the Czechs simply not shooting the ball well enough and finishing with the worst field goal percentage of any team in the tournament. 

#15 Turkey TUR (0)

Tournament Record: 0-3
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: 14th (Group Phase)
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 7th

Pushing Belgium in that last game and potentially causing an upset papered over the cracks. Yes, they missed Isil Alben and Tilbe Senyurek, so things might have been different, but maybe there are more deep-rooted problems. Only Melis Gulcan emerged with big credit as Turkey finished as the lowest-scoring team, worst three-point shooters and with the fewest assists in the tournament. The decision to bring Kiah Stokes from the WNBA and then not select her was strange too. Turkey are 1-10 across their last three major tournaments. The days of getting FIBA Women's EuroBasket medals and being at the Olympics and World Cups with the likes of Alben, Birsel Vardarli and Nevriye Yilamz feel like a lifetime ago. 

#16 Greece GRE (-2)

Tournament Record:  0-3
FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019: Did not qualify
FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike: 13th

It's maybe harsh on Greece in some ways, but they lost by 15, 34 and 10 points respectively, so they didn't even get within single digits of an opponent. They had injuries and absences, which is some mitigation, and did press Italy well in the last group game. They showed a lot of heart and it was nice to see teenager Eleni Bosgana show her potential as a big future star with a real nice show to sign off. Basically Greece didn't have the firepower or depth to compete as they had hoped and it went according to the script.

*The power rankings are entirely subjective and are in no way a true, accurate ranking system. All comments are purely those of the author.

Paul Nilsen

Paul Nilsen

The FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 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.