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EuroLeague Women: Seeking 2-0 start, Dynamo Kursk brings back Epiphanny Prince

In the first big in-season transaction of the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season, Dynamo Kursk has re-signed Epiphanny Prince, who will be suiting up for the Russian club beginning in the competition’s second week of action.

Dynamo Kursk - ZVVZ USK Prague: FIBA Euroleague Women
Epiphanny Prince (with ball) won a EuroLeague Women championship with Dynamo Kursk in 2017.
Photo by Konstantin Melnitskiy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Russian club Dynamo Kursk began the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season on a strong note, defeating VBW Arka Gdynia in the competition’s opening week behind 30 points and six steals from Slovenian center Eva Lisec and 22 points and 11 rebounds from American forward Natasha Howard.

Kursk now heads into week two even stronger, having added American guard Epiphanny Prince. Prince, whose Russian citizenship allows her to fit on Kursk’s roster under FIBA’s EuroLeague Women eligibility rules, is no stranger to the team or the competition; she played for Kursk from 2012 to 2020, winning a EuroLeague Women championship in 2017 alongside Nneka Ogwumike, Angel McCoughtry and Maria Vadeeva.

Such transactions are not at all uncommon during the course of a typical EuroLeague Women season. In Kursk’s case, Arike Ogunbowale, who was originally signed to play for the club, has not yet reported to the team. Though Kursk is still expecting Ogunbowale later in the season, the addition of Prince will give it more firepower in the meantime.

In an interesting twist of fate, Prince’s first EuroLeague Women game back with Kursk comes against the team she played for during the 2020-21 season, Galatasaray. The Turkish club finished 3-3 in group play last season and lost in the first round of the playoffs; it’s off to a less-than-impressive start to the 2021-22 season, dropping its opening-week game to rival club Fenerbahçe by 20 points. Galatasaray will need more out of Chelsea Dungee (three points on 1-of-7 shooting in week one) as it awaits Riquna Williams’ arrival.

Elsewhere, two-time EuroLeague Women MVP Alina Iagupova and Fenerbahçe will look to keep it rolling against a Basket Landes squad that got blown out in week one, while 2021 WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick Charli Collier will make her EuroLeague debut with Beretta Famila Schio. All games will be streamed live and for free on the EuroLeague Women YouTube channel.

Wednesday, October 13

Galatasaray (0-1) vs. Dynamo Kursk (1-0)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Sport Concert Complex, Kursk

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Chelsea Dungee (Galatasaray); Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk)

Matchup details: While Ogunbowale has yet to report to the team, Kursk had no problem outlasting VBW Arka Gdynia in week one. Howard and Lisec are shaping up to the one of the top frontcourt duos in EuroLeague Women, and Prince’s return figures to make the team’s offense more balanced. Galatasaray, too, got a strong effort from its center last week — Tina Krajišnik recorded 23 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in a blowout loss to Fenerbahçe — but will need more from other players on its roster if it’s going to upset Kursk. Despite the blowout, Galatasaray played four players 35 minutes or more, with import Dungee playing just 20 minutes.

ZVVZ USK Praha (0-1) vs. MBA Moscow (0-1)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Basket Hall Moscow, Moscow

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha)

Matchup details: Praha was upended by BLMA in week one, losing 75-74 in a contest lowlighted by a back-and-forth fourth quarter that ultimately ended in the French club’s favor. It’s the type of game Praha likely wouldn’t have dropped had Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones been with the team, but neither player has arrived yet, so Praha will be shorthanded once again in week two. Moscow is shaping up to be one of the weaker teams in this season’s EuroLeague Women pool — FIBA writer Paul Nilsen put them dead last in his preseason power rankings — so Praha has a good chance of taking this game without its two stars.

BLMA (1-0) vs. KSC Szekszárd (0-1)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Szekszárd Varosi Sportközpont, Szekszárd

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Olivia Epoupa, Haley Peters, Avery Warley-Talbert, Sydney Wallace (BLMA); Cyesha Goree, Nikolina Milić (KSC Szekszárd)

Matchup details: An Epoupa free throw with four seconds remaining in regulation was the deciding point in BLMA’s wild opening-week victory over Praha, though the French club also got clutch play from Sydney Wallace (14 points) and pulled down 15 offensive rebounds as a team. Szekszárd, on the other hand, was not nearly as impressive in its EuroLeague Women debut, failing to win a single quarter in an 80-59 loss to Umana Reyer. Needless to say, BLMA has the stronger squad and will be favored in this one.

Sopron Basket (1-0) vs. VBW Arka Gdynia (0-1)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Gdynia Arena, Gdynia

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Gabby Williams, Bernadett Határ (Sopron Basket); Megan Gustafson, Morgan Bertsch (VBW Arka Gdynia)

Matchup details: Gdynia got an efficient 26 points (11-of-15 shooting) from Gustafson in its opener, and she’ll need to replicate that effort against a Sopron club historically known for its defense. Sopron likely won’t be blowing many opponents out this season — it squeaked past Girona 68-63 in week one — but with Határ patrolling the paint and Williams defending on the perimeter, it won’t be easy for opponents to win the slow-paced, grind-it-out style of games the club likes to play.

Basket Landes (0-1) vs. Fenerbahçe Safiport (1-0)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Celine Dumerc, Marianna Tolo, Marine Fauthoux (Basket Landes); Alina Iagupova, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Amanda Zahui B. (Fenerbahçe Safiport)

Matchup details: There may not have been a more impressive all-around effort than the one Fenerbahçe put forth in week one. The Group B favorites got 29 points and 11 assists from Iagupova, 21 points from McBride and 18 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots from Williams en route to a dominating win over Galatasaray. Conversely, Landes was disappointing, allowing nearly 100 points to Beretta Famila Schio in its opener. Fenerbahçe is still missing Satou Sabally and Jasmine Thomas, but should be heavily favored in this matchup regardless.

TTT Riga (0-1) vs. Perfumerias Avenida Salamanca (1-0)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Pabellón Municipal Würzburg, Salamanca

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Bella Alarie, Karlie Samuelson, Emese Hof, Silvia Dominguez, Maite Cazorla (Perfumerias Avenida Salamanca)

Matchup details: Avenida got perhaps more than it bargained for in week one, though at the end of the day it was still able to outlast MBA Moscow. Neither Katie Lou Samuelson nor Kahleah Copper are with Avenida yet, to be fair, so the way the Spanish club’s early-season is scheduled worked out is in its favor; Riga has little in the way of star power and dropped its opening-week game to UMMC Ekaterinburg 71-56, shooting 34.9 percent from the field.

Thursday, October 14

Umana Reyer (1-0) vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg (1-0)

When: 10 a.m. ET

Where: DIVS Sport Hall, Ekaterinburg

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kayla Thornton, Yvonne Anderson (Umana Reyer); Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva, Alex Bentley, Alba Torrens (UMMC Ekaterinburg)

Matchup details: Ekaterinburg is considerably thinner than we’re used to — Brittney Griner, Jonquel Jones, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley were all absent from the team in week one — but the Russian club’s remaining talent was more than enough to cruise past Riga. Umana Reyer poses a much greater threat, especially when Anderson is shooting the ball like she did last week (23 points, 7-of-12 from the field).

Spar Girona (0-1) vs. Beretta Famila Schio (1-0)

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palazzetto Livio Romare, Schio

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kennedy Burke, Rebekah Gardner, Laia Palau (Spar Girona); Sandrine Gruda, Charli Collier, Kitija Laksa, Jasmine Keys, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio)

Matchup details: EuroLeague Women’s most dominating opening-week performance went to Schio, which dismantled Landes 96-56 behind six individual double-figure scoring efforts. Schio will now debut Collier, who went for 10 points and 15 rebounds in the team’s most recent Lega Basket Femminile game, against Girona. Girona, meanwhile, dropped a close one against Sopron; with Michaela Onyenwere on the mend with an injured thumb, Burke and Gardner will need to carry the load alongside veteran Palau.