On Sunday, Sopron Basket will play UMMC Ekaterinburg for the 2017-18 EuroLeague Women championship. They will play at 2 p.m. ET in Sopron, Hungary. You can watch the game on FIBA’s YouTube channel live, for free. I’ve already done a preview on the talent of both teams last Thursday, so let’s get to know the clubs’ history:
According to its Wikipedia page, Sopron was founded in 1921. It won European success by winning the Ronchetti Cup in 1998. Today, the Ronchetti Cup is known as FIBA EuroCup Women.
Also, Sopron has consistently been the best team in Hungary. As such, it has qualified for EuroBasket nearly every single year from 2000 on, minus the 2014-15 season. Though Sopron is dominant within Hungary, its success in Europe has been a bit limited. Though Sopron made the quarterfinals six times between 2000-2007, they haven’t made it past the round of 16 since 2009 when they did make it to the Final Four for the first time.
In short, the 2017-18 season is Sopron’s best season ever. If they can win the title, it will be just that more special because the EuroBasket Women Final Four is at their home arena.
The Foxes are the better known club of the two and most would expect them to win their fourth overall EuroLeague Women title. When the roster has WNBA stars like Maya Moore, Brittney Griner, and Emma Meesseman along with Spanish star Alba Torrens, this team could probably win the WNBA Finals on paper.
What I find even more impressive is that UMMC has never fared worse than third place in every EuroLeague Final Four they made. They also made the Final Four in every season since 2007-08.
Though UMMC is a regular in the EuroLeague Women Final Four, they also have somewhat of a reputation for not taking care of business in the Final Four recently. In 2014-15, UMMC lost in the finals to Czech power USK Praha and in 2016-17, they lost 70-61 to Turkish power Fenerbahçe in the semifinals.
Who wins the title?
My head says UMMC. Also, the Mystics fan in me says UMMC because Meesseman, reserve forward LaToya Sanders, and point guard Kristi Toliver are on the roster.
That said, Sopron’s at home and this UMMC team isn’t invincible.