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EuroLeague Women: Showdown between UMMC Ekaterinburg and ZVVZ USK Praha highlights Week 4 action

Brittney Griner joins Jonquel Jones, Emma Meesseman and Maria Vadeeva on UMMC Ekaterinburg, which faces its toughest test thus far in Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones and ZVVZ USK Praha. Elsewhere, Alina Iagupova and Fenerbahçe look to get back on track against Gabby Williams and Sopron Basket.

Perfumerias Avenida v UMMC Ekaterinburg - EuroLeague Women Final
Brittney Griner makes her 2021-22 EuroLeague Women debut this week for UMMC Ekaterinburg, where she’s played her overseas basketball since 2014.
Photo by /BSR Agency/Getty Images

A matchup between perennial powerhouses UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia) and ZVVZ USK Praha (Czech Republic) highlights the fourth week of action of the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season. Both teams, Ekaterinburg in particular, have plenty of WNBA talent, and are widely expected to finish at or near the top of Group A and make noise in the EuroLeague Women postseason.

Ekaterinburg was stunned by Valencia BC in a 73-66 SuperCup Women loss, but its EuroLeague Women record remains spotless (3-0), and things continue looking up; Brittney Griner is expected to play her first game of the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season this week, joining a star-studded cast including 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones, Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva and Alba Torrens.

Praha, meanwhile, has its one-two punch back in Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones, and the pair’s first EuroLeague Women game of the season did not disappoint. Jones led Praha in scoring (18 points) while Thomas led the team in rebounds (10) in a comfortable 83-56 victory over KSK Szekszárd. Neither Jones nor Thomas played heavy minutes, so they should be fresh and ready to go against Ekaterinburg — a game in which the Connecticut Sun teammates will surely be depended upon heavily.

Elsewhere in EuroLeague Women, Fenerbahçe Safiport will try to get back on the winning track against an undefeated Sopron Basket team after a pair of disappointing losses, while the Samuelson sisters will lead Perfumerias Avenida against BLMA in a bid for a 4-0 record. All games can be streamed live and for free on the official EuroLeague Women YouTube channel.

Wednesday, October 27

Umana Reyer (1-2) vs. TTT Riga (1-2)

When: 10 a.m. ET

Where: Rimi Olympic Center, Riga

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kayla Thornton, Yvonne Anderson (Umana Reyer); Daugilė Šarauskaitė, Vanesa Jasa (TTT Riga)

Matchup details: Riga pulled out a 64-59 victory over MBA Moscow last week, though the overall numbers are still grim: the Latvian club is averaging 53.7 points per game — by far the lowest in EuroLeague Women at this juncture — and is turning the basketball over an average of 19 times. More efficient offense will be necessary against Reyer, which is having scoring issues of its own (56 points last week against Perfumerias Avenida). Anderson is a player who can get hot in a hurry, and she’s had a solid competition thus far, averaging 17.3 points on 54.3 percent shooting from the field.

ZVVZ USK Praha (2-1) vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg (3-0)

When: 10 a.m. ET

Where: DIVS Sport Hall, Ekaterinburg

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha); Jonquel Jones, Brittney Griner, Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva, Alba Torrens, Alex Bentley (UMMC Ekaterinburg)

Matchup details: As scary as Ekaterinburg’s roster is, it’s not nearly as strong in the backcourt as in the frontcourt, with Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley yet to arrive. That could be a problem against Praha, which currently leads EuroLeague Women in steals at 11.7 per game. That being said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ekaterinburg cruise to victory, either, especially if it’s able to keep Thomas and Jones off the boards with its massive frontcourt rotation.

Spar Girona (2-1) vs. Dynamo Kursk (2-1)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Sport Concert Complex, Kursk

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kennedy Burke, Rebekah Gardner (Spar Girona); Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk)

Matchup details: Girona is looking like a club on the rise after a shocking Week 3 upset of Fenerbahçe, and Burke currently ranks second in EuroLeague Women in scoring (20.7 points per game). Kursk, meanwhile, dropped its latest game against Landes, though the Russian club also features one of the competition’s leading scorers in Lisec (20.3 points per game). The wing matchup between Burke and Ogunbowale will be appealing to WNBA fans, though the real decider will likely come in the frontcourt; will Girona be able to neutralize Lisec and Howard and earn its third-straight win?

KSC Szekszárd (0-3) vs. MBA Moscow (0-3)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Basket Hall Moscow, Moscow

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Cyesha Goree, Nikolina Milić (KSC Szekszárd); Nina Glonti, Zhosselina Maiga (MBA Moscow)

Matchup details: The competition hasn’t exactly given Szekszárd or Moscow a warm welcome. Both clubs are still searching for their first EuroLeague Women victory, and ranked them at No. 15 and No. 16, respectively, in its recent power rankings. On the bright side of things, Milić has been one of the competition’s strongest players thus far, averaging 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and EuroLeague Women history will be made for at least one club before the the day is over.

Beretta Famila Schio (1-2) vs. VBW Arka Gdynia (0-3)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Gdynia Arena, Gdynia

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Sandrine Gruda, Charli Collier, Kitija Laksa, Jasmine Keys, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio); Megan Gustafson, Morgan Bertsch, Alice Kunek (VBW Arka Gdynia)

Matchup details: Gdynia has been the weakest team in Group B to the point, allowing a EuroLeague Women-high 81 points per game, which is unfortunate for its star players: Kunek is averaging 19.7 points, seven rebounds and eight assists per game while Gustafson is putting up 26 points per contest. Schio, which has lost two-straight games, is likely looking at Gdynia’s porous defense as an opportunity to relocate its stride; whether or not Laksa’s 3-point shot is falling (3.4 threes made per game on 45.9 percent shooting) will go a long way in determining this game’s winner.

Sopron Basket (3-0) vs. Fenerbahçe Safiport (1-2)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Gabby Williams, Bernadett Határ, Shey Peddy (Sopron Basket); Alina Iagupova, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Kiah Stokes, Amanda Zahui B. (Fenerbahçe Safiport)

Matchup details: Arguably the biggest disappointment of the EuroLeague Women season thus far, Fenerbahçe continues to shoot the ball poorly, making just 24-of-71 (33.8 percent) of its shots last week against Spar Girona, including 3-of-24 (12.5 percent) 3-pointers and 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) free throws. While Fenerbahçe is too talented of a team for this to continue, things won’t get any easier against Sopron, which is allowing a Group B-low 64 points per game. We’ll see if Határ (18.7 points and 11.3 rebounds) can continue her strong play against Fenerbahçe’s deep and experienced frontcourt.

Basket Landes (2-1) vs. Galatasaray (1-2)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Şehit Mustafa Özel Spor Kompleksi, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Celine Dumerc, Marianna Tolo, Marine Fauthoux (Basket Landes); Chelsea Dungee, Riquna Williams, Tina Krajišnik (Galatasaray)

Matchup details: Landes’ opening-week walloping at the hands of Schio is now a distant memory. The French club has reeled off a pair of impressive wins against strong competition and has a chance to make it three-straight against Galatasaray, which won its first game of the season last week but otherwise doesn’t have much going for it outside of Krajišnik, who is leading EuroLeague Women in scoring at 21.3 points per game and also has two double-doubles in three games.

BLMA (2-1) vs. Perfumerias Avenida (3-0)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Pabellón Municipal de Würzburg, Salamanca

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Olivia Epoupa, Haley Peters, Avery Warley-Talbert, Sydney Wallace (BLMA); Katie Lou Samuelson, Bella Alarie, Karlie Samuelson, Emese Hof, Silvia Dominguez, Maite Cazorla (Perfumerias Avenida)

Matchup details: Avenida is still waiting to add Kahleah Copper to its EuroLeague Women roster, though the Spanish club is already stacked. Avenida is currently allowing just 53.7 points per game, which is by far the lowest such figure in the competition, while also boasting the largest scoring differential (+52) through three games. BLMA was blown out by Ekaterinburg last week and will be seeking a bounce-back performance after getting outrebounded 42-24.