Last season in EuroLeague Women, Alyssa Thomas was on fire and led ZVVZ USK Praha to great things. On Tuesday, however, she was upstaged by the No. 2 pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, Satou Sabally, who was making her debut with Fenerbahçe.
Sabally highlighted a great opening day for EuroLeague basketball, which also saw a couple of thrillers and outstanding play from a number of WNBA players.
Thanks to Satou Sabally, Fenerbahçe handles ZVVZ USK Praha in battle between two of the top teams, 77-70 | Box Score
Fenerbahçe rookie Satou Sabally was the high scorer of the day out of all the teams that were in action with 30 points. She did a good job of holding her own while guarding Alyssa Thomas early and outplayed the WNBA All-Star in the end. Sabally looked more comfortable than she did in the Bradenton bubble and her shooting range gave her an edge against a great defender in A. Thomas. She was 2-of-5 from downtown, which she’ll take after a poor performance from beyond the arc during the WNBA season. Sabally added 11 rebounds, while A. Thomas led Praha with 16 points. A. Thomas filled out the rest of the box score better than Sabally with 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
A. Thomas led all scorers with 10 points in the first quarter. Her team led 23-13 after one and 43-32 at the break. In the third quarter A. Thomas’ teammate both on Praha and the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, Brionna Jones, got into foul trouble, opening the door for Fenerbahçe to make a 14-2 run that cut its deficit to two. Sabally scored five points during the run and her teammate Jasmine Thomas had seven.
Fenerbahçe finally took the lead on a Kayla McBride free throw with 5:17 to play in the fourth. It never trailed Praha after that and extended its lead to nine with 1:35 to go.
J. Thomas finished with 19 points and five assists while McBride had 14 and four. Jones joined Thomas as one of four Praha players in double figures with 13 points.
Arike Ogunbowale lights up the scoreboard but falls short in the clutch as Nadezhda upsets Dynamo Kursk, 77-74 | Box Score
This one came down to a missed three by Kursk’s Arike Ogunbowale with two seconds remaining. Ogunbowale made free throws to cut Nadezhda’s lead to one with 47 seconds to go, but couldn’t finish on a drive to the basket with 20 seconds left when a make would have given Kursk the lead.
Kursk led by six after one and by 13 at halftime, but three triples from Elina Dikaioulaku in the third quarter helped Nadezhda come back. Dikaioulaku finished with five 3-pointers and 19 points. Anastasia Logunova also had 19 points to help Nadezhda overcome Ogunbowale’s 29. Atlanta Dream forward Monique Billings was also in double figures for Nadezhda with 11 points.
Ogunbowale played 36 minutes, while Kursk teammates Alex Bentley and Amanda Zahui B. both played north of 20. Zahui B. was good for eight points and six rebounds while Bentley notched five points and three assists. Another WNBA player, Stephanie Mavunga, hauled in eight rebounds to lead Kursk in that category.
Jonquel Jones looks good, leads juggernaut UMMC Ekaterinburg past Famila Schio, 83-61 | Box Score
Connecticut Sun fans will be happy to know that Jonquel Jones, who opted out of the 2020 WNBA season due to COVID-19 concerns, played great on Tuesday. She notched a game-high 20 points for Ekaterinburg and grabbed six rebounds. Courtney Vandersloot also had a big game for the winners with 15 points and seven assists. Her teammate and wife, Allie Quigley, went 2-of-5 from distance with 14 points and five assists. Maria Vadeeva was also in double figures with 10 points, while 2020 WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart was held to eight points in her team’s win. Stewart still managed six rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, however.
UMMC is known for its abundance of WNBA talent and is No. 1 in the EuroLeague power rankings. However, Famila put up a good fight in a third quarter that it lost 21-20.
Indiana Fever forward Natalie Achonwa recorded 10 points for Famila, which was led by Giorgia Sottana’s 14 points in defeat.
Alysha Clark is key contributor in 89-57 blowout win for LDLC ASVEL Feminin over Arka Gdynia | Box Score
Aleksandra Crvendakic led Feminin with 21 points in this blowout. Helena Clark added 17 points and hauled in 10 rebounds, all on the defensive end. Seattle Storm forward Alysha Clark (12 points) and Michelle Plouffe (11) were also in double figures for the winners, while teammate Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe registered a game-high 11 rebounds. Feminin’s Marine Johannes and Ingrid Tanqueray were the top two distributors in the contest with nine and six assists, respectively.
On the losing end, Marissa Lee Kastanek posted 18 points but was the only Arka player in double figures. The only quarter that Arka was truly competitive in was the second, which they lost 23-22. Feminin won the first quarter 25-14 and got back into a groove in the third, winning that frame 25-12. Feminin locked in on defense in the fourth to gain a 16-9 edge.
Feminin won the paint battle 42-18 and also got 34 points from its bench compared to the 15 that non-starters put up for Arka.
Briann January, Gabby Williams power Sopron Basket in gutsy 70-60 victory over Bourges Basket | Box Score
After a first quarter tie, Sopron was able to gain a five-point edge at halftime. Bourges stayed close though and won the third 15-14.
In the fourth quarter Briann January’s fearless shooting helped Sopron pull away. A basket from the Connecticut Sun guard with 2:41 remaining made it 64-57 in favor of Sopron, which didn’t score again until 22 seconds remaining, but didn’t need to. Tina Jovanovic’s free throws at the 22-second mark made it 66-60 and served as the finishing touches on a solid effort for Sopron.
January also made a 3-pointer with 3:30 to go that made the score 62-57. In addition, she made a quick baseline, midrange shot just two seconds out of a timeout that made it 59-55 Sopron at the 5:49 mark of the fourth.
Chicago Sky guard Gabby Williams led Sopron with 19 points, while January finished with a total of 18 and added four assists. Williams was good for five boards and three helpers. Jelena Brooks rounded out the Sopron trio of players double figures with 17 points. Jonvanovic notched eight points and seven rebounds.
Isabelle Yacoubou (18 points), Alexia Chartereau (15) and Magali Mendy (11) all scored in double figures for Bourges.
.@GabbyWilliams15 & @BriannJanuary combined for 37 to lead @WBSopron to season opening win over Bourges (60-70) .— EuroLeague Women (@EuroLeagueWomen) December 1, 2020
B. January: 18 PTS | 7-8 FG | 20 EFF
G. Williams: 19 PTS | 8-11 FG | 20 EFF pic.twitter.com/VIkrBK3V27
Chelsea Gray struggles but Spar Girona still pulls out 81-79 victory in thriller against TTT Riga | Box Score
Riga’s Jessica Thomas missed what would have been a game-winning 3-pointer as the clock was winding down, allowing Girona to hold on for the win.
A Frida Eldebrink layup with 6:38 to go in the fourth gave Girona a 13-point edge, which ended up being its largest lead of the final quarter. Riga’s ability to battle back after that was impressive, but the comeback fell short. Girona was only up by one entering the fourth so it needed a big run itself to build up the 13-point cushion.
Girona’s star player, Chelsea Gray, was held scoreless in the first quarter and finished with just eight points. However, Gray made a few key plays and was one of two players on Girona to dish out five assists — the other was Sonja Vasic, who notched a game-high 19 points. Eldebrink was not far behind with 18.
In the second quarter, Girona trailed by as many as 10 but made it a one-point game by halftime. Vasic came out ready to go in the third, burrying a triple just 18 seconds into the frame that gave Girona a two-point lead.
Binta Drammeh notched 14 points for Riga, while Kitija Laksa added 13 and a team-high six rebounds in defeat.
Nadezhda will look to continue its success against Perfumerias Avenida in the only Wednesday game at 11 a.m. ET.