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EuroLeague Women Preview: Ekaterinburg, Praha look to continue dominating

UMMC Ekaterinburg’s loaded roster is rolling again, on a collision course with Group A rivals ZVVZ USK Praha. Elsewhere, Bourges Basket will be getting much-needed reinforcements in Natalie Achonwa.

2019 WNBA Finals - Game Five
Emma Meesseman (left) and Morgan Tuck are just two of the many WNBA players to be featured in Wednesday’s EuroLeague Women games.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

If you’re looking to watch WNBA talent during the American league’s long offseason, look no further than EuroLeague Women’s early game this Wednesday.

Starting at 10 o’clock ET, superteam UMMC Ekaterinburg (featuring Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Jamierra Faulkner, Brittney Griner, Emma Meesseman, Jonquel Jones and Maria Vadeeva) will face Turkish club Gelecek Koleji Çukurova, who currently has Alex Bentley and Morgan Tuck at its disposal.

If that’s not enough for you, check out what Dynamo Kursk (Epiphanny Prince, DeWanna Bonner, Jessica Breland and Glory Johnson) does against Arka Gdynia (Rebecca Allen and Marie Gülich). Elsewhere, Fenerbahçe Öznur Kablo will be going up against LDLC ASVEL Féminin, featuring two of the top international guards in the game: Alina Iagupova and Marine Johannès.

As always, these games will be streamed live — for free — on FIBA’s YouTube channel. Let’s check in with the rest of EuroLeague Women and see where we are heading into the competition’s seventh week.

Wednesday, December 11

Gelecek Koleji Çukurova (2-4) vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg (5-1)

When: 10:00 a.m. ET

Where: Servet Tazegül Spor Salonu, Mersin

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: Ekaterinburg is looking unstoppable once again. The Russian club leads EuroLeague Women in points scored — as expected with players like Vandersloot, Quigley and Griner — and per usual, enters the week strongly favored. Tuck will need to have a big game if Çukurova is to have a chance; she’s shot just 19.2 percent from the field since joining the team.

Fenerbahçe Öznur Kablo (4-2) vs. LDLC ASVEL Féminin (2-4)

When: 11:30 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe dropped a close one to BLMA last week, reopening the door to the top of the Group B standings. LDLC ASVEL Féminin may not be on that level, but any team with Johannès on its roster bears upset potential. Johannès will be matched up with Iagupova, who currently leads EuroLeague Women in scoring (20.2 points per game).

TTT Riga (1-5) vs. Reyer Venezia (1-5)

When: 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Olympic Sports Centre, Riga

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: Its monstrous upset of Ekaterinburg now a distant memory, Riga squares off against the one team below it in the standings. Venezia won its first game of the season but has had little luck since then, failing to hit 60 points in each of its last three contests. Both teams need this win badly.

Arka Gdynia (3-3) vs. Dynamo Kursk (3-3)

When: 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Hala Gier Gdyńskiego Centrum Sportu, Gdynia

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: Kursk made short work of Sopron last week, thanks in part to a new international frontcourt featuring Johnson and Breland. While the team’s season has been disappointing thus far, it’s still salvageable, but Allen and Gdynia are no pushover, having won three straight games.

ZVVZ USK Praha (5-1) vs. Castors Braine (3-3)

When: 1:10 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: Praha just keeps rolling. It remains at the top of EuroLeague Women in rebounding (47.8 rebounds per game) and ranks second in scoring (79.8 points per game) and assists (20.3 assists per game). Castors Braine, while clearly the underdog, will present an interesting challenge to Alyssa Thomas and company; the Belgian club is playing its best basketball of the season after wiping out Çukurova last week.

Bourges Basket (3-3) vs. Nadezhda (4-2)

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Palais des sports du Prado, Bourges

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: The bad news is that Bourges lost by nearly 40 points last week. The good news is that Natalie Achonwa should be ready to go this week, which should shore up the team’s 13th-ranked rebounding. Achonwa will be going up against fellow Canadian Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, who is currently averaging 9.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for Nadezhda.

Thursday, December 12

Sopron Basket (2-4) vs. Familia Schio (4-2)

When: 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Aréna Sopron, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: Sopron continues its free fall after a blowout loss to Kursk. That’s four straight defeats for the Hungarian club, who has dropped to 14th in EuroLeague Women in scoring (58.5 points per game) and 15th in rebounding (35.3 rebounds per game). It won’t get any easier this week; Schio is allowing the fewest points per game (58.2) in Group B. Can Briann January lift Sopron out of its rut and to an upset?

Spar CityLift Girona (2-4) vs. BLMA (4-2)

When: 2:15 p.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Matchup details: BLMA continues to be one of the more fun EuroLeague teams to follow, and a win here will help the club keep pace with Group B favorites Fenerbahçe. Girona has continued its up-and-down pl ay, losing a close one last week to Schio. Keep an eye on Stephanie Mavunga for BLMA; she currently leads the competition in rebounding at 12.0 per game.