The two major European competitions - Euroleague and Eurocup - got off to a start this week and many of the teams on the Top Twelve list participated in either one or the other. Two teams suffered domestic losses, and one - Famila Schio - was moved out of the Top Twelve as a result.
First, a wrap-up of Euroleague:
And now, for some diversions....
This weekend, the quarterfinals of the Cup of Russia took place. I don't know exactly what the format is, as the same teams will meet again on December 2, so I suspect the quarterfinals are a best-of-two, with the best total aggregate score advancing to the semifinals. Spartak Vidnoe Moscow, UMMC, Dynamo Kursk and Nadezhda are all taking part.
When ranking teams, I use something called an Elo rating system. This leads the question of how these games should be rated. I generally rate games like so:
60 Euroleague championship
50 Eurocup championship, Euroleague games, national championships, major international tournaments
40 Eurocup games, other national cup matches
30 Domestic games, pre-season cup matches
20 Friendly matches
So the Russia Cup games get a weight of 40 and are treated like Eurocup games. Since there are about a zillion domestic leagues out there, I do the best I can. But the goal is to follow Euroball year round, through its friendly pre-season matches, etc.
ROW Rybnik was forced to let go all of its high-level players due to a financial crisis that has put the future of the club in jeopardy. Leac Metcalf (North Carolina) went over to AZS Rzeszow, becoming that club's first-ever American player. The match between Row Rybnik and Pabianice scheduled for this weekend has now been postponed to November 11th. Obviously, the PLKK would like to keep all of its clubs alive but that is starting to look less and less possible.
Greece is sort of an anomaly in our Top Twelve. Unless you've lived in a cave for the past year, you know that the country's finances are in terrible shape. This has filtered down through all levels of Greek society, and that includes women's basketball. Sponsorships and state support has virtually evaporated by my understanding, and the Greek women's teams are either getting paid very little...or nothing at all.
The anomaly comes from Greece being a "top-heavy" league, and one in a bad way. At the top you have Athinaikos, a perennial representative in Euroleague and Eurocup. Athinaikos withdrew from international competition - probably because it couldn't afford the travel, and as far as I know it will be stuck playing games in a league which was already weak (I had it seeded as 9th out of the 12 leagues I follow) and which will probably be even weaker in the future.
What I didn't know is how top heavy the Greek league was. I began looking for links to Greek basketball, and I found that Athinaikos has won something on the order of 102 consecutive Greek domestic league games with their victory over GAC Eunikos this weekend. According to Athinaikos, they are the only club at any level in any Greek sports that holds this consecutive victory record. Athinaikos is the UConn of the Greek league.
So they'll stay in my Top Twelve, but if they don't start participating in international competition, they could fall off the list in years to come and any loss to a Greek domestic team will definitely hurt them.
On November 5th, the Israel league (IBA) starts its season.
Last year, we almost had a strike that wiped out an entire season of Israel women's ball. You might have asked yourself why doesn't a European team just hire a bunch of American players? The answer is that most leagues have rules regarding how many foreign players can play. The Israel women's league had a rule which stated that at least two native Israeli players had to be on the floor at all times. (You can imagine that this adds a new element to coaching substitutions.) Most of Europe's leagues have a rule somewhat like this one. It makes sense, because how are local players going to get any experience against international talent unless their leagues are forced to put them on the floor?
However, the Israeli league wanted to change the rule to allow four foreign players on the court and one time. So the Israelis went on strike and in November of last year, the Israeli league cancelled its season in response.
The strike went on for two weeks and ended when both sides came to a compromise. The league got to use its "four foreigners" rule only for 2011-12, but the league returned to the "Russian Rule" of at least two Israels on the floor for the next three seasons.
Israel only has one team taking part in international competition this year - Elitzur Ramla, which lost its opening Eurocup game to Antakya (TUR).
(D = domestic, E = Euroleague, EC = Eurocup)
1. Spartak Vidnoe Moscow (RUS): 2-0 D, 1-0 E
* Beat Tarsus (TUR) 88-81 in Euroleague. Tarsus won the second half, crawling out of a 53-32 hole in front of 1500 home fans.
Spartak Vidnoe Moscow: Candice Dupree 26/8 reb, Sonja Petrovic 20/11 reb, Isabelle Yacoubou 12, Elisa Aguilar 10 (Becky Hammon 2).
Tarsus: Danielle Robinson 22, Melissa Can 16, Amaya Valdemoro 16, Delisha Milton-Jones 10.
Melisa Can was formerly known as Michelle Campbell out of Rutgers.
* Beat Spartak Noginsk (RUS) 58-37 at Noginsk in the Russian Cup quarterfinals.
Spartak Noginsk: Tatiana Sergeeva 8, Anna Tolikova 8
Spartak Vidnoe Moscow: Isabell Yacoubou 18/9 reb, Marina Kuzina 11/6 reb (Candice Dupree 4, Becky Hammon 0).
Next: Oct 31 vs. Bourges (FRA) in Euroleague, Nov 4 at Dynamo Moscow (RUS).
2. UMMC (RUS): 2-0 D
* Beat Energy Ivanova (RUS) 74-49 at home. A game without a history, with Ekat winning or tying each quarter. This was Diana Taurasi's debut for the 2012-13 season.
UMMC: Sandrine Gruda 16/10 reb, Diana Taurasi 16, Deanna Nolan 11, Quanitra Hollingsworth 11.
Energy Ivanova: Olga Gorbacheva 14/7 reb, Olga Ovcharenko 7.
* Beat Dynamo-GUVD (RUS) 97-47 in the Russian Cup quarterfinals. Ekat led 35-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Dynamo GUVD: Xenia Kolosovskaya 14, Liubov Pasalenko 9 (Yvonne Turner 4, Sidney Spencer 4).
UMMC: Sandrine Gruda 18, Deanna Nolan 15, Diana Taurasi 15.
Next: Oct 31 vs. Novi Zagreb (CRO) in Euroleague, Nov 3 vs. Dynamo-GUVD (RUS).
3. Fenerbahce (TUR): 2-0 D, 0-0 E
* Beat Mersin (TUR) 77-54 at home. Fenerbahce emptied the roster, with 11 out of 12 players scoring. The score was tied 38-38 at halftime, and then Fener blew the doors open.
Fenerbahce: Angel McCoughtry 13/11 reb/5 ast, Yasemin Horasan 10, Ivana Matovic 10/6 reb (Cappie Pondexter 7).
Mersin: Bahar Ozturk 18, Chantelle Handy 14/10 reb.
Next: Oct 31 vs Targoviste (ROM) in Euroleague, Nov 4 at Antakya (TUR).
4. Perfumerias (ESP): 1-1 D, 1-0 E
* Beat USK Praha (CZE) 62-56 in Prague to open Euroleague. Roneeka Hodges and Nicole Powell had good second half performances to get the road win.
* USK Praha: Kia Vaughn 16/11 reb, Eva Vitekova 9.
* Perfumerias: Nicole Powell 16, Egle Sulcuite 15/11 reb, Roneeka Hodges 12, Marta Fernandez 11.
* Beat Caja Rural (ESP) 76-67 on the road. Leading 49-31 at halftime, Perfumerias lost both quarters of the second half but hung on for the win.
* Caja Rural: Amy Denson 22, Taru Tuukkanen 8/9 reb.
* Perfumerias: Roneeka Hodges 23, Nicole Powell 18, Marta Fernandez 15, Lucila Pascua 8/7 reb.
Next: Oct 30 vs. CCC Polkowice (POL) in Euroleague, Nov 3 vs. Hondarribia (ESP).
5. Wisla Can-Pack (POL): 6-0 D, 0-1 E
* Lost to Bourges (FRA) 61-55 in France in Euroleague. Bourges led from the opening tipoff. Wisla Can-Pack still doesn't have Tina Charles yet and Katie Douglas is injured.
Bourges: Frida Eldebrink, Emmeline Ndongue 15/7 reb, Endene Miyem 10, Zoi Dimitriakou 8/6 ast.
Wisla Can-Pack: Dora Horti 15, Anka De Mont 13, Cristina Ouvina 10/6 ast/5 stl.
* Beat Widzew (POL) at home 87-64. Wisla was 38-34 at halftime but came back strong for the win.
Wisla Can-Pack: Anke De Mont 17/6 ast, Katarzyna Krezel 13/10 reb, Petra Stampalija 12, Dora Horti 12.
Widzew: Aleksandra Pawlak 22, Anna Tondel 11, Malgorzata Chomika 10.
Next: Oct 31 vs. UNI Gyor (HUN) in Euroleague, Nov 3 at Energa Torun (POL).
6. Athinaikos (GRE): 4-0 D.
Beat GAC Eunikos 81-48. If you can figure out the English names associated with the Greek transliterations, good luck.
GAC Eunikos: Katerina Kontali 23, Nikolin Ioannidou 14.
Athinaikos: Zoi Kechagia 14, Milena Vukichevic 13, Afroditi Kosma 10.
Next: Nov 3 vs. Kronos AD (GRE).
7. Galatasaray (TUR): 2-0 D, 1-0 E. (up from #8)
* Beat Novi Zagreb (CRO) 79-48 in Euroleague on the road. They trailed 8-7 after four minutes, then went on a 23-2 run.
Novi Zagreb: Sandra Mandir 10, Latoya Williams 8/8 rebounds.
Galatasaray: Sebnem Kimyacioglu 16, Ozge Yavas 11, Sylvia Fowles 10/16 reb, Sancho Lyttle 9/9 reb/6 stl, Ann Wauters 9.
* Beat Samsum (TUR): 71-52 on the road. Bad news for Gala - Sylvia Fowles will be out 2-4 weeks due to injury, and that means 2-4 missed Euroleague games.
Samsun: Chantel Black 19/12 reb, Anna Vadja 13/9 reb.
Galatasaray: Bahar Caglar 17, Sancho Lyttle 12, Sebnem Kimyacioglu 12, Ann Wauters 5/10 reb, Ozge Yavas 4/6 ast.
Next: Oct 31 vs. USK Praha (CZE) in Euroleague, Nov 4 at Antakya (TUR).
8. Dynamo Kursk (RUS): 2-0 D, 1-0 EC. (up from #12)
* Beat Botas (TUR) at home 79-64 in the first round of Eurocup. The defending Eurocup champs were only up by three at one point in the second, but won the second half to take the win.
Dynamo Kursk: Temeka Johnson 15/9 reb, Natalia Vodopyanova 15/7 reb (Shay Murphy 9, Erin Lawless 8, Michelle Snow DNP).
Botas: Courtney Paris 17/8 reb, Burcu Cigil 11 (Michelle Thomas 4/7 reb, Quianna Cheney 7).
* Beat Dynamo Moscow (RUS) on the road 77-71 in the Russian Cup quarterfinals. It looks like it was a battle of third vs fourth quarters, with Kursk building up a big enough lead in the third to hold off Dynamo Moscow in the fourth. Epipphany Prince made her debut with Dynamo Kursk.
Dynamo Moscow: Irina Sokolovskaya 14, Tatjana Vidmer 13/19 reb, Laura Harper 11/9 reb, Snezana Aleksic 11.
Dynamo Kursk: Epipphany Prince 20, Ekaterina Lisina 18/11 reb, Maria Cherepanova 16 (Erin Lawless 2).
Next: Nov 4 vs. Nadezhda (RUS).
9. Bourges (FRA): 4-2 D, 1-0 E. (down from #7)
* Beat Wisla Can-Pack (POL) in the first game of Euroleague, 61-55 (see above).
* Lost to Lyon, 44-43, on the road in a shocker for their second domestic loss of the year. Nwal-Endene Miyem missed a shot at the buzzer that could have pulled out a victory for Bourges. According to lovewomensbasketball.com, Mistie Mims of Lyon called this game "a war".
Lyon: Mistie Mims 16/9 reb, Danielle Page 8, Mame-Marie Sy-Diop 8.
Bourges: Nwal-Endene Miyem 14/9 reb, Emmeline Ndongue 7.
Next: Oct 31 at Spartak Vidnoe Moscow (RUS) in Euroleague, Nov 3 vs. Tarbes (FRA).
10. Rivas Ecopolis (ESP): 3-0 D, 0-0 E. (down from #9)
* Beat UNI Girona (ESP) 78-62 at home. The visitors hung in there for a long time - I got to watch this one - but Rivas was 7-for-15 from 3-point range.
Rivas Ecopolis: Aneika Henry 15/10 reb, Vega Gimeno Martinez 13, Oleksandra Kurasova 11, Anna Cruz 10.
UNI Girona: Jacinta Monroe 16, Noemi Jordana 12, Oumoul Sarr 10, Allison Feaster 7, Cierra Brevard 6.
Next: Oct 31 vs. Tarsus (TUR) in Euroleague, Nov 3 at Cadi ICG (ESP).
11. Taranto (ITA): 2-1 D.
* Beat Orvieto 74-47. Another game without a history, with Taranto winning all four quarters.
Taranto: Gintare Petronyte 21, Liron Cohen 16, Megan Mahoney 10/9 reb.
Orvieto: Shamela Hampton 15/8 reb, Martina Fassa 9.
Next: Nov 4 at Priolo (ITA).
12. Nadezhda (RUS): 2-0 D, 1-0 E. (new in Top Twelve)
* Beat Good Angels (SLK) 70-65 in Euroleague. Trailing by one at halftime, a home venue and 25 personal fouls from Good Angels got them over the hump.
Nadezhda: DeWanna Bonner 22, Liudmila Sapova 13/10, Elena Danilochkina 11, Iva Perovanovic 11.
Good Angels: Allie Quigley 17, Miljana Bojovic 13/5 stl, Riquna Williams 11, Tijana Krivacevic 9/7 reb.
* Beat Chevakata 76-65 in the Russia Cup quarterfinals. Chevakata poured on 22 points in the final quarter - compared to seven from Nadezhda - but Nadezhda's lead was insurmountable.
Chevakata: Glory Johnson 14/10 reb, Yuliya Kiseleva 14, Anastasiya Logunova 10 (Jasmine Thomas 4).
Nadezhda: Elena Danilochkina 20, Natalya Zhedic 11/7 reb.
Dropped out of Top Twelve: Famila Schio (ITA).
A promotional video for Panathinaikos in the Greek league. Very interesting, if just to look at the court, the locker room, and the club building.
Another promotional video for Panathinaikos, to the tune of "You'll Never Walk Alone".
The entire Targoviste/Famila Schio video. The moving score bar is a little weird, though. I would go to 1:41:00 to see Laura Macchi clean up the entire game for Famila Schio. Start up around 1:45:00 to catch Macchi's three that was the dagger.