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FIBA EuroLeague Women Final Four 2017-18 Preview: Teams, Game Times, How to Watch

Europe’s top continental league has a lot of WNBA talent!

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The 2017-18 EuroLeague Women Final Four will be in Sopron, Hungary. Four teams will play in a single elimination tournament to determine the winner of Europe’s top continental title.

The semifinals are on Friday, while the third place and championship games are on Sunday, April 22.

Match 1: Dynamo Kursk (Russian PBL) vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russian PBL)

When: Friday, April 20 at 11 a.m. ET

TV/Streaming: YouTube on FIBA’s Channel or click here

WNBA talent: UMMC Ekaterinburg has made the Final Four in each of the last 10 years. They have five WNBA players: Lynx forward Maya Moore, Mercury center Brittney Griner, and a trio of Mystics players: forward Emma Meesseman, forward LaToya Sanders, and guard Kristi Toliver. And if that wasn’t enough, former WNBA All-Star guard Deanna Nolan’s still on this squad too. Spanish star Alba Torrens rounds out their star studded group.

Moore and Griner are certainly the biggest American names, but Meesseman is legitimately one of the cornerstones of this team with her diverse game. Here’s a 17 point performance she had in a EuroLeague Women match against another PBL rival, Nadezhda.

Dynamo Kursk is the defending EuroLeague Women champion. This team has plenty of WNBA star talent including Dream guard Angel McCoughtry and Sparks posts Nneka Ogwumike and Maria Vadeeva. In addition, Liberty guard Epiphanny Prince is on the team. Finally a couple on again, off again European WNBA players are on the roster, in Anna Cruz and Sonja Petrovic.

The Skinny: These two teams are the most powerful clubs in Russia with identical 19-1 records in the PBL where the playoffs are ongoing. They are also the winners of each of the last two EuroLeague Women titles.

The crappy thing is that this match includes the two favorites to win the whole thing. I lean toward UMMC winning this match.

Regardless of who wins though, UMMC and Dynamo Kursk will face off against each other AGAIN on April 27 and 29 in the PBL Finals for the domestic title. Let’s just say that this rivalry’s intense.

Match 2: Sopron Basket (Hungarian A Division) vs. Yakin Dogu Universitesi (Turkish KBSL)

When: Friday, April 20 at 2 p.m. ET

TV/Streaming: YouTube on FIBA’s Channel or click here

WNBA talent: Sopron is the home team, but they’ll be underdogs. that said, they have Chicago Sky center Alaina Coates (who missed last season due to ankle surgery) and Mercury guard Yvonne Turner, who was a WNBA rookie at the age of 29. Turner played at Nebraska for college but was never considered for a WNBA team until after she played and improved overseas. Finally, Serbian star Jelena Milovanovic played for the Mystics in 2014.

As for Yakin Dogu Universitesi, they have Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot (who’s a naturalized Hungarian) and Aces guard Kayla McBride. In the quarterfinals against French team Bourges Basket, McBride had a 20 point and 7 assist performance in the second leg of their two-match series.

Finally, Yakin Dogu Universitesi also have Sparks forward Jantel Lavender and French national Sandrine Gruda, who’s played a bit in the WNBA before. Gruda could really be a WNBA star if it weren’t for international team commitments. Really.

Finally, Quanitra Hollingsworth has played some time in the WNBA as well as Belgian national Ann Wauters, who was the first pick in the 2000 Draft.

The Skinny: Sopron is tied for the lead in the Hungarian A Division domestically while Yakin Dogu Universitesi is first in the tough and even Turkish KBSL. Though Sopron should put up a good fight at home, I think Yakin Dogu Universitesi should win this game rather comfortably.

Sunday matches

The loser of the UMMC/Kursk and Sopron/Yakin Dogu matches play at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday April 22 for the bronze medal. The winners of the matches play each other for the EuroLeague Women championship and an automatic berth to next year’s EuroLeague Women at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 22.

All four teams either clinched a spot or are a safe bet to make EuroLeague Women next year in their domestic leagues, so they’re probably not worried in that respect.