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EuroLeague Women: UMMC Ekaterinburg and Dynamo Kursk remain undefeated as the group stage heads toward the halfway point

WNBA All-Stars like Brittney Griner and Alyssa Thomas are playing big roles in European women’s basketball’s major showcase.

Seattle Storm v Las Vegas Aces
Aces guard Kayla McBride is UMMC Ekaterinburg’s leading scorer in EuroLeague Women play.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The group stage of the 2018-19 EuroLeague Women season is nearly halfway through, with six of 14 matches having been played in European Women’s basketball’s biggest tournament so far. Most of the teams in the annual competition have current WNBA players on their rosters, and some teams have multiple All-Stars.

EuroLeague Women is FIBA Europe’s top-tier professional basketball league. Teams make the EuroLeague Women competition if they win their national league the previous year. Last year’s champion, UMMC Ekaterinburg, also got an automatic berth.

There are two groups of eight teams in the group stage. However, there are often more teams in the EuroLeague, resulting in play-in rounds before the group stage. So, here is a look at how each team is doing in the two groups so far.

Group A

UMMC Ekaterinburg, Russia (6-0)

The defending EuroLeague Women champion Ekat are undefeated after beating Familia Schio 82-68 on Wednesday evening. Aces guard Kayla McBride is their leading scorer in EuroLeague, while Mercury center Brittney Griner is leading the team in efficiency (22.3). Mystics forward Emma Meesseman and Spanish star Alba Torrens, meanwhile, are averaging a combined 23.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Ekat is once again the favorite to win the continental title after adding Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot and Sparks center Maria Vadeeva to an already deep lineup.

ZVVK USK Praha, Czech Republic (5-1)

USK Praha is one of Europe’s strongest teams outside of Turkey and Russia. Sun forward Alyssa Thomas is the team’s centerpiece and EuroLeague’s top scorer, with 18.7 points per game. Thomas is also averaging 9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Wings guard Leticia Romero is on the roster as well. USK Praha’s one loss was an 87-59 defeat to Ekat on Nov. 28.

Bourges Basket, France (4-2)

The French power has emerged as the “best of the rest” outside of Ekat and USK Praha. There are no active WNBA players on the roster, but that doesn’t mean this team lacks the talent to advance to the quarterfinals. Marine Johannès leads the team in scoring, averaging 16 points and 3.3 assists per game. Johannès is also one of the most prolific shooters in EuroLeague, where she is averaging three made three-pointers per game.

CCC Polkowice, Poland (4-2)

This Polish team has five players who competed in the WNBA for at least part of the 2018 season: Sun guard Jasmine Thomas, Dream guard Tiffany Hayes, Aces center Kelsey Bone, Lynx center Temi Fagbenle, and center Lynetta Kizer (who was also with the Lynx for the first half of the 2018 WNBA season). CCC Polkowice started the EuroLeague season on the wrong foot, with two consecutive losses — to Bourges Basket (on Oct. 24) and UMMC (on Nov. 1). However, the teams has remained undefeated since.

Nadezhda, Russia (2-4)

Fever guard Erica Wheeler and Sun forward Brionna Jones are the lone non-Russians on the roster. Neither are WNBA All-Stars and that shows in a group where most teams have elite players on their rosters.

Castors Braine, Belgium (1-5)

The Belgian champion has no current WNBA players on its squad, which largely explains the poor record. Former Wings center Ruth Hamblin plays here, but she isn’t the top player on the team. That honor goes to Celeste Trahan-Davis, an American who played for Division II school, Elizabeth City. Trahan-Davis is averaging 12 points and 11.3 rebounds for Castors Braine and is one of the top post players in the competition.

Familia Schio, Italy (0-6)

The Italian power hasn’t been able to duplicate its success on the European stage. Sky guard Allie Quigley and Sparks forward Jantel Lavender lead the team in scoring at 12 points per game, apiece. Despite their tough start, they started the season with a close 63-60 loss to Castors Braine on Oct. 24.

Group B

Like Group A, Group B has one undefeated team and another that is winless. However, the standings are more even in the middle of the standings.

Dynamo Kursk, Russia (6-0)

Dynamo Kursk lost Vadeeva and McBride to rival Ekat, but Dynamo did acquire Storm forward and WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart along with a stacked roster that includes Spanish guard Marta Xargay, Liberty center Tina Charles and Liberty guard Epiphanny Prince. Though Dynamo remains undefeated in EuroLeague, they haven’t won a game by double digits since Oct. 31 when they blew out Carolo Basket, 83-62.

TTT Riga, Latvia (4-2)

Shey Peddy leads the Latvian team, averaging 18 points and 5.3 assists per game. Peddy has spent time on training camp rosters for the Mystics and Sky, but ultimately she didn’t make the final cut. TTT Riga also gave Dynamo a scare on Oct. 24, coming up just a point shy of Dynamo in a 70-69 defeat.

Perfumerias Avenida, Spain (3-3)

The Spanish power has also played well considering it doesn’t have the superstar talent of some other teams in this group. Mercury center Angel Robinson and long-time WNBA center Erika de Souza are two familiar faces here, however. Silvia Dominguez, the team’s starting point guard, leads EuroLeague Women with 7.5 assists per game.

Sopron Basket, Hungary (3-3)

Sopron was the EuroLeague Women runner-up last season and is trying to hold on to make it out of the group stage for another run at the title. Mercury guard Yvonne Turner, Fever forward Candice Dupree and Liberty center Amanda Zahui B. are the three WNBA players who form the foundation of this team along with Serbian forward Aleksandra Crvendakic.

Fenerbahçe, Turkey (3-3)

At first glance, Fenerbahçe should be one of the top teams in this group given that its roster includes Bria Hartley, Kia Vaughn and Kiah Stokes of the Liberty; Kelsey Plum of the Aces; and Cecilia Zandalasini of the Lynx. However, the team has had some hiccups in the group stage, including an 88-82 loss on Oct. 31 against Perfumerias and a 68-64 loss to TTT Riga on Thursday.

Carolo Basket, France (3-3)

Storm guard Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Haley Peters are the two Americans on the roster. This team’s most notable win was on Oct. 24, when they defeated Sopron, 80-74.

Hatay BB, Turkey (2-4)

The Turkish team has no shortage of WNBA players, with its roster including Storm center Courtney Paris, Wings forward Glory Johnson and Lynx guard Alexis Jones. But Hatay’s leading scorer is Belgian point guard Hind Ben Abdelkader, who played for the Fever for part of the 2018 WNBA season. Unfortunately, Hatay had some losses, including a 77-74 contest loss on Nov. 1 to the overachieving TTT Riga.

Olympiacos, Greece (0-6)

This Greek team hasn’t won a game since winning a play-in round against Wisla Canpack Krakow in October. Still, they were able to keep things close when they lost to Dynamo Kursk on Nov. 7, 73-67. There are no current WNBA players on the roster, but former Michigan State star Lykendra Johnson and Miami guard Jessica Thomas are Olympiacos’ two biggest contributors.

What’s next after the group stage?

The top four teams in each group will play in the quarterfinals, a best-of-three series beginning March 5. The winners of the quarterfinals will complete in the Final Four, a single-elimination tournament, starting April 12. Meanwhile, the fifth- and sixth-place teams will move on to the EuroCup Women quarterfinals and the seventh- and eighth-place teams will be eliminated in European competition for the year.

See the full EuroLeague Women schedule here!