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EuroLeague Women: Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones return to ZVVZ USK Praha ahead of Week 3

Alyssa Thomas is back overseas, fully recovered from the Achilles injury that kept her out for most of the 2021 WNBA season. Both Thomas and her Connecticut Sun teammate Brionna Jones will play for Czech club ZVVZ USK Praha, which is expected to make big noise in EuroLeague Women.

EuroLeague Women Final Four 2019
Alyssa Thomas (with ball) returns to ZVVZ USK Praha, where she has played her overseas ball since 2018.
Photo by Andrea Kareth /SEPA.Media /Getty Images

As the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season enters its third week, WNBA players continue trickling in from the United States. Among the latest arrivals are Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones; the Connecticut Sun teammates will both suit up for Czech club ZVVZ USK Praha.

Both Thomas and Jones are familiar with the team, with Thomas having played for Praha since 2018 and Jones since 2019. It will be Thomas’ first overseas action since rupturing her Achilles early in the year; she looked physically healthy when she returned for the Sun late in the WNBA season, and Praha will undoubtedly welcome her back into its rotation with open arms.

Elsewhere, Kiah Stokes is back with Fenerbahçe Safiport, which could use the additional depth after a surprising 70-65 loss last week. Fenerbahçe entered the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season as the favorite to win Group B, and while that remains a realistic goal, as a team that relies heavily on imported talent, it behooves Fenerbahçe to get its roster set as early in the season as possible.

You can watch Thomas, Jones, Stokes and plenty more of your favorite WNBA players live and for free on the official EuroLeague Women YouTube channel. Here’s the schedule for this week, including a list of players to look out for.

Wednesday, October 20

KSC Szekszárd (0-2) vs. ZVVZ USK Praha (1-1)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Cyesha Goree, Nikolina Milić (KSC Szekszárd); Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha)

Matchup details: Szekszárd is still searching for its first EuroLeague win in club history, and it’s not for a lack of effort: A 20-point, 14-rebound second-week outing from Milić nearly fueled an upset over BLMA. If Praha integrates Thomas and Jones in time for this game, however, it’ll be an uphill battle for Szekszárd. We’ll see if Milić and Goree can continue to out-rebound their opponents against two of the best individual board-crashers in the business.

VBW Arka Gdynia (0-2) vs. Galatasaray (0-2)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Şehit Mustafa Özel Spor Kompleksi, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Megan Gustafson, Morgan Bertsch (VBW Arka Gdynia); Chelsea Dungee, Riquna Williams, Tina Krajišnik (Galatasaray)

Matchup details: Gdynia got what it expected out of Gustafson (26 points on 11-of-15 shooting) last week, and veteran wing Alice Kunek has been excellent thus far, averaging 21.5 points and nine assists in her first two weeks of play. Those individual numbers haven’t translated to wins, but that may change against Galatasaray, which has had a rough go of things through two weeks, dropping its first pair of games by an average of 11 points. Williams recently joined the team, though, so if she’s ready to go, she’ll add some much-needed scoring from the perimeter.

Perfumerias Avenida (2-0) vs. Umana Reyer (1-1)

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palasport Taliercio, Venice

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Katie Lou Samuelson, Bella Alarie, Karlie Samuelson, Emese Hof, Silvia Dominguez, Maite Cazorla (Perfumerias Avenida Salamanca); Kayla Thornton, Yvonne Anderson (Umana Reyer)

Matchup details: The Samuelson sisters have been reunited! Katie Lou recently returned to Avenida, which had gotten off to a 2-0 start in EuroLeague Women without her and Kahleah Copper. That’s bad news for the rest of the competition, as the Spanish club will only get stronger as it continues to ingest American talent. Reyer, meanwhile, made an impressive fourth-quarter run against Ekaterinburg last week, and though it wasn’t enough to topple the Russian giant, it could end up paying dividends down the road if point differential becomes a factor in Group A’s postseason seeding.

UMMC Ekaterinburg (2-0) vs. BLMA (2-0)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Palais des Sports de Lattes, Lattes

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva, Alex Bentley, Alba Torrens (UMMC Ekaterinburg); Olivia Epoupa, Haley Peters, Avery Warley-Talbert, Sydney Wallace (BLMA)

Matchup details: Ekaterinburg is lacking an enormous amount of talent in Brittney Griner, Jonquel Jones, Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley, and we don’t yet know when any of those players will arrive, but the club has started 2-0 anyway, which just goes to show how incredibly deep its roster is. BLMA presents an interesting challenge for Ekaterinburg: The French club hasn’t had the largest margins of victory thus far, but has shown to be tough at the end of games. If it can keep this one close heading into crunch time, there’s some serious fourth-quarter excitement potential in store.

Dynamo Kursk (2-0) vs. Basket Landes (1-1)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Espace François Mitterrand, Mont-de-Marsan

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk); Celine Dumerc, Marianna Tolo, Marine Fauthoux (Basket Landes)

Matchup details: Howard was named FIBA’s “Way-Too-Early MVP” for the month of October, and for good reason: She’s averaging 19.5 points on 67 percent shooting and 11 rebounds for a Kursk team that has started 2-0. Kursk is still waiting on Arike Ogunbowale to arrive; in the meantime, Howard and Lisec will ensure that the team has a significant frontcourt advantage on most weeks. Landes scrapped out an upset victory over Fenerbahçe last week, holding the Group B favorite to 33.9 percent shooting from the field; a similar defensive effort will be required in this matchup.

Fenerbahçe Safiport (1-1) vs. Spar Girona (1-1)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alina Iagupova, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Kiah Stokes, Amanda Zahui B. (Fenerbahçe Safiport); Kennedy Burke, Rebekah Gardner, Laia Palau (Spar Girona)

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe is slowly but surely getting its imported depth together (Satou Sabally is still recovering from an Achilles injury suffered during the WNBA season, but Bria Hartley should be joining the team soon) and is looking extremely tough on paper. Of course, paper is not where the game is played, and the Turkish club will need a stronger effort this week after suffering an upset loss to Basket Landes. Girona, meanwhile, got its first win of the season last week over Schio, highlighted by an outstanding game from Burke (19 points, six rebounds, two steals).

Thursday, October 21

MBA Moscow (0-2) vs. TTT Riga (0-2)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Olympic Sports Centre, Riga

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Nina Glonti, Zhosselina Maiga (MBA Moscow); Daugilė Šarauskaitė, Vanesa Jasa (TTT Riga)

Matchup details: One team has to win, right? Neither Moscow nor Riga were expected to make much noise this season, and through two weeks, they have two of the three worst point differentials in EuroLeague Women at -31 and -46, respectively. To be fair, both teams have had tough schedules thus far, and they’re a much better match for each other than any of the opponents they’ve faced.

Beretta Famila Schio (1-1) vs. Sopron Basket (2-0)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Sandrine Gruda, Charli Collier, Kitija Laksa, Jasmine Keys, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio); Gabby Williams, Bernadett Határ (Sopron Basket)

Matchup details: To no one’s surprise, Sopron is once again exceeding the sum of its parts, although Határ has stood out individually, averaging 15.5 points and 11 rebounds per game through two weeks. She’ll go against a tough front line of Gruda, Collier and Keys this week. Watch out for Laksa, too: she’s been hot, shooting 44.4 percent on six 3-pointers attempted per game, which includes Schio’s victories in the EuroLeague Women qualifiers.