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EuroLeague Women: Top scorers Kennedy Burke, Tina Krajišnik duel as Spar Girona faces Galatasaray

Kennedy Burke hasn’t been known for her scoring during her time in the WNBA, but she’s been lighting it up in EuroLeague Women for Spar Girona. Burke and Girona take on Tina Krajišnik, Riquna Williams and Galatasaray in the fifth week of the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women season.

Kennedy Burke (left) currently leads EuroLeague Women in scoring at 21.8 points per game.
Photo courtesy of Spar Girona (@unigirona) via Twitter

One of the many appeals of following EuroLeague Women is the opportunity to watch some of the WNBA’s top athletes compete year-round. An added bonus is when those players star in expanded roles relative to those they play on their American teams; it’s not unusual to see a WNBA bench player break out and carry their respective overseas team in EuroLeague Women.

Look no further than Kennedy Burke for a great example of a WNBA player putting in serious work overseas. Burke — who has been cast mostly as a defensive specialist in the early stages of her WNBA career — has been scorching-hot for Spanish club Spar Girona, leading all of EuroLeague Women in scoring at 21.8 points per game. She’s getting it done efficiently, too, shooting 50 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from 3-point range as Girona’s primary offensive option.

Highlights: Burke drops 25 against Dynamo Kursk

Burke and Girona (2-2) will take on Turkish club Galatasaray (2-2) this week, with both teams trying to rise above .500 before the league’s two-week intermission. Galatasaray recently parted ways with guard Chelsea Dungee, and while rumors have been swirling on social media regarding which American player will replace her (if any), nothing has been made official yet.

In the meantime, more will be asked of Serbian center Tina Krajišnik, who has been having a terrific EuroLeague Women season for Galatasaray. The 30-year old is currently averaging 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game — ranking near the top of the EuroLeague Women leaderboards in both figures — while ranking a close second in FIBA’s efficiency per game metric (24.3) behind Dynamo Kursk’s Eva Lisec. Riquna Williams should also be in line for more usage for Galatasaray as the club searches for another import.

Burke, Krajišnik and Williams are just a few of the numerous stars you can watch live and for free on FIBA’s YouTube channel. Here’s the lowdown on who else will be playing in EuroLeague Women this week, along with game times and matchup details.

Tuesday, November 2

UMMC Ekaterinburg (4-0) vs. KSC Szekszárd (0-4)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Szekszárd Városi Sportcsarnok, Szekszárd

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Jonquel Jones, Brittney Griner, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva, Alba Torrens, Alex Bentley (UMMC Ekaterinburg); Cyesha Goree, Nikolina Milić (KSC Szekszárd)

Matchup details: In one of the more exciting finishes you’ll see this EuroLeague Women season, Ekaterinburg escaped its Week 4 matchup against ZVVZ USK Praha thanks to a buzzer-beating game-winner from Bentley. The stacked Russian club should have a much easier go of things this week against Szekszárd, which is shooting a league-worst 23.9 percent on 3-pointers and will have its usual frontcourt advantage nullified by the likes of Jones and Griner.

Dynamo Kursk (3-1) vs. Sopron Basket (3-1)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna Sopron, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk); Gabby Williams, Bernadett Határ, Shey Peddy (Sopron Basket)

Matchup details: Lisec was recently named EuroLeague Women MVP for the month of October, and for good reason: She averaged 18.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.5 steals in four games for Kursk. Lisec and Howard make for a dynamic frontcourt duo, and they face perhaps their toughest challenge thus far in Sopron, which is currently licking its wounds after suffering its first loss of the season at the hands of Fenerbahçe. How Williams, Határ and company defend Kursk’s frontcourt will be of the utmost importance for Sopron, but don’t forget about Ogunbowale, who is due for a big scoring effort after shooting a combined 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) from 3-point range in her first two games.

Perfumerias Avenida (4-0) vs. ZVVZ USK Praha (2-2)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Katie Lou Samuelson, Bella Alarie, Karlie Samuelson, Emese Hof, Silvia Dominguez, Maite Cazorla (Perfumerias Avenida); Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha)

Matchup details: It should go without saying that Praha is better than its record. The Czech club has won two games by 25 and 27 points, while its two losses have been by just one and two points. Avenida’s cumulative point differential (+73), on the other hand, is an accurate representation of team success, though its early-season schedule hasn’t been as strong as Praha’s. Expect a close and competitive game between two of Group A’s top three teams.

MBA Moscow (1-3) vs. Umana Reyer (1-3)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palasport Taliercio, Venice

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Nina Glonti, Zhosselina Maiga (MBA Moscow); Astou Ndour-Fall, Kayla Thornton, Yvonne Anderson (Umana Reyer)

Matchup details: Ndour-Fall is expected to make her season debut for Reyer, which will be a much-needed boost for a team that has lost three games in a row and currently ranks near the bottom of EuroLeague Women in rebounding (34.3 per game). Moscow isn’t in much better shape statistically, though it recently recorded its first-ever EuroLeague Women victory: a 65-62 win over KSC Szekszárd.

Fenerbahçe Safiport (2-2) vs. Beretta Famila Schio (1-3)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palazzetto Livio Romare, Schio

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alina Iagupova, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Kiah Stokes, Amanda Zahui B. (Fenerbahçe Safiport); Sandrine Gruda, Charli Collier, Kitija Laksa, Jasmine Keys, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio)

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe’s unexpectedly up-and-down season continued last week when it blew out Sopron, and while 28 points from McBride on 12-of-19 shooting will earn the team a victory more often than not, the minutes distribution of Fenerbahçe’s frontcourt (Stokes and Zahui B., in particular) remains something to monitor. Schio, meanwhile, needs to regroup, having lost three-straight games after a massive opening-week victory; the Italian club has averaged 67.7 points per game during that span.

TTT Riga (2-2) vs. BLMA (2-2)

When: 3 p.m. ET

Where: Palais des Sports de Lattes, Lattes

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Daugilė Šarauskaitė, Vanesa Jasa (TTT Riga); Olivia Epoupa, Haley Peters, Avery Warley-Talbert, Sydney Wallace (BLMA)

Matchup details: Despite averaging just 58 points through four games, Riga is at .500, which is a pleasant surprise for a club not expected to have much regular-season success. Riga will look to make it three consecutive wins against BLMA, which has dropped its last two after a strong start to the season. The French club has put up Group A’s worst defensive numbers (79.8 points allowed per game) at this point, so perhaps Riga’s struggling offense will be able to take advantage.

VBW Arka Gdynia (1-3) vs. Basket Landes (2-2)

When: 3 p.m. ET

Where: Espace François Mitterrand, Mont-de-Marsan

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Megan Gustafson, Morgan Bertsch, Alice Kunek (VBW Arka Gdynia); Sophie Cunningham, Celine Dumerc, Marianna Tolo, Regan Magarity (Basket Landes)

Matchup details: Gdynia earned its first win of the season last week, scraping together just enough fourth-quarter points to take down Schio, 71-67. Kunek continues to put up well-rounded stat lines for Gdynia, recording 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the Polish club’s victory. One area that must be cleaned up, however, is rebounding; Gdynia ranks last in EuroLeague Women, pulling down 32.3 rebounds per game, so watch for Tolo to have a big game on the boards for Landes.

Wednesday, November 3

Galatasaray (2-2) vs. Spar Girona (2-2)

When: 3:15 p.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Riquna Williams, Tina Krajišnik (Galatasaray); Kennedy Burke, Rebekah Gardner (Spar Girona)

Matchup details: Galatasaray played perhaps its best basketball of the EuroLeague Women season last week against Landes, and that was without much production from Dungee, so the Turkish club is likely feeling pretty confident about its chances heading into this matchup. Girona struggled against the versatility of Kursk’s frontcourt last week, and while Krajišnik presents a problem at center as well, Galatasaray doesn’t have the kind of depth up front that can give Girona issues. There are reasons to like either team in what should be a competitive game.