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EuroLeague Women: Ekaterinburg remains favorite at Week 8 juncture

It’s time for EuroLeague Women’s round robin schedule to reset. Some things have changed since the opening week of the competition, but one thing is still for sure: UMMC Ekaterinburg and ZVVZ USK Praha remain the favorites.

EuroLeague Women Final Four 2019
Courtney Vandersloot of UMMC Ekaterinburg leads EuroLeague Women in assists, averaging 8.3 per game.
Photo by Andrea Kareth /SEPA.Media /Getty Images

We’re officially in the second leg of EuroLeague Women season, as indicated by the competition’s round-robin scheduling. Now that each team has seen every other team in its respective group, we start over again; each Week 8 matchup is a rematch of one played in Week 1.

Some things have changed since then. Gelecek Koleji Çukurova, for instance, has swapped Nia Coffey for Alex Bentley and Morgan Tuck. Dynamo Kursk has reinforced its frontcourt with Jessica Breland and Glory Johnson.

Some other things haven’t changed. UMMC Ekaterinburg and ZVVZ USK Praha remain the two best teams in the competition.

Regardless of who you’ve been following, the logical nature of the scheduling makes this a solid point at which to evaluate the competition’s contenders. As a reminder, group play began back on October 16; take a look back at those Week 1 games if you’d like a refresher. Otherwise, here’s what’s on the docket for Week 8:

Wednesday, December 18

UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-1) vs. Castors Braine (3-4)

When: 9:00 a.m. ET

Where: DIVS Sport Hall, Ekaterinburg

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: What’s to say about Ekaterinburg that hasn’t already been said? The Russian powerhouse continues to trounce the rest of EuroLeague Women, most recently doubling up Çukurova 112-56. Castors Braine was able to keep it close in its Week 1 match against Ekaterinburg, but that was before Jonquel Jones arrived to make an already fearsome frontcourt that much better, so we’ll see if this score is as respectable.

Nadezhda (4-3) vs. Gelecek Koleji Çukurova (2-5)

When: 9:00 a.m. ET

Where: Orenburzhje Sport Hall, Orenburg

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Nadezhda beat Çukurova soundly to kick off the competition, but things look a lot different now for the Turkish club, having added Alex Bentley and Morgan Tuck as notable WNBA imports. That hasn’t led to on-court success, though; Çukurova got absolutely demolished by Ekaterinburg last week, its third straight loss. Perhaps Bentley, Tuck and company will have better luck against this Russian club than they did against the last.

Arka Gdynia (3-4) vs. Familia Schio (4-3)

When: 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Gdynia Arena, Gdynia

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Schio has still been unable to get Diamond DeShields going (she scored 6 points on 3-of-10 shooting last week), which is a major reason why the team ranks last in EuroLeague Women in scoring. The Week 1 match between Schio and Gdynia wasn’t exactly a barn-burner, but Gdynia has since climbed to third in scoring amongst EuroLeague Women teams, so we’ll see if Schio can keep up.

Sopron Basket (3-4) vs. BLMA (4-3)

When: 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Sopron got a much-needed victory last week (in typical low-scoring Sopron fashion) over Familia Schio, and will now face BLMA, who the Hungarian club previously defeated back in October. Stephanie Mavunga scored just four points for BLMA in that game, but has since emerged as one of EuroLeague Women’s most productive players. Her performance will be crucial in BLMA’s mission to even the series.

ZVVZ USK Praha (6-1) vs. TTT Riga (1-6)

When: 1:00 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Alyssa Thomas was named EuroLeague Women’s Top Performer last week after putting together yet another monster line: 26 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals. Such play keeps USK Praha atop Group A. TTT Riga has resumed its downward trajectory after toppling Ekaterinburg three weeks ago, and the team now faces another huge challenge in Thomas and Praha.

Bourges Basket (4-3) vs. Reyer Venezia (2-5)

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Palais des Sports du Prado, Bourges

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Natalie Achonwa’s debut for Bourges wasn’t tremendously impactful (18 minutes and a box plus/minus of 0), but her team was able to topple Nadezhda anyway. They now get a Venezia team near the bottom of Group A, having lost its previous four games before defeating Riga last week. Perhaps this matchup will get Achonwa going.

LDLC ASVEL Féminin (2-5) vs. Dynamo Kursk (4-3)

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

Where: Gymnase Mado Bonnet, Lyon

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Kursk was in the danger zone for a bit, but appears to have broken out, thanks in large part to Glory Johnson (28 points, 15 rebounds, 4 steals last week against Gdynia). LDLC ASVEL Féminin, meanwhile, has now lost three straight games. The French club already lost to Kursk back in the competition’s first week, and that was without Johnson, so this will definitely be a challenge for Marine Johannès, Alysha Clark and company.

Thursday, December 19

Spar Citylift Girona (3-4) vs. Fenerbahçe Öznur Kablo (5-2)

When: 1:15 p.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube Live Stream

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe continues to lead the pack in Group B, with Alina Iagupova doing the heavy lifting. The Ukrainian guard leads the competition in scoring while also playing as her team’s leading distributor (4.9 assists per game). A repeat of the club’s Week 1 victory over Girona will have it sitting pretty in the standings as it tries to put some distance between itself and second-place BLMA.