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EuroLeague Women: Kahleah Copper, Perfumerias Avenida take on stacked UMMC Ekaterinburg

Spanish EuroLeague Women club Perfumerias Avenida recently welcomed WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper to its roster. Will Copper’s addition be enough for Avenida to topple a star-studded UMMC Ekaterinburg squad in the competition’s seventh week of group play?

2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper is playing her overseas ball with Spanish club Perfumerias Avenida.
Image courtesy of Perfumerias Avenida (@CBAvenida) via Twitter

During the course of a typical EuroLeague Women season, it’s common to see WNBA players come and go. Not all international contracts are equal — a player may be signed for only part of an overseas season, for instance — while injuries and other circumstances can further complicate matters.

Take Kahleah Copper for example. The Chicago Sky wing and 2021 WNBA Finals MVP had signed with Spanish club Perfumerias Avenida, though she only recently reported to Avenida, making her 2021-22 EuroLeague Women debut last week. Copper proved to be a quick study, leading Avenida with 25 points in an easy win over KSC Szekszárd.

The timing for Avenida couldn’t be better. Russian superteam UMMC Ekaterinburg, which features an immense amount of star power including Jonquel Jones, Brittney Griner, Allie Quigley and Emma Meesseman, welcomes Avenida in a battle between Group A’s top two teams. Though Ekaterinburg will be heavily favored regardless of which lineups Avenida plays, Copper raises both Avenida’s overall ceiling and chance at an upset.

Elsewhere, Fenerbahçe Safiport gets a significant boost of its own with the return of Satou Sabally. Sabally, who is playing her second EuroLeague Women season with Fenerbahçe, missed the first five weeks of the 2021-22 season while recovering from an Achilles injury suffered during the 2021 WNBA Season. While Sabally will likely be easing her way back into things — she played just under ten minutes in Fenerbahçe’s win over VBW Arka Gdynia last week — her return has, at the very least, re-energized a team that has thus far failed to meet lofty preseason expectations. Fenerbahçe will play Russian club Dynamo Kursk, which stars Arike Ogunbowale and Natasha Howard, in a bid to raise its record above .500.

You can watch Copper, Jones, Sabally, Ogunbowale, and more of the WNBA’s biggest stars on an international stage via FIBA’s official YouTube channel. Here’s a complete breakdown of all the upcoming Week 7 action, including who is playing where and how to watch them.

Wednesday, December 1

Perfumerias Avenida (5-1) vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-0)

When: 9 a.m. ET

Where: DIVS Sport Hall, Ekaterinburg

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kahleah Copper, Katie Lou Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson, Bella Alarie, Emese Hof, Silvia Dominguez, Maite Cazorla (Perfumerias Avenida); Jonquel Jones, Brittney Griner, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva, Alba Torrens, Alex Bentley (UMMC Ekaterinburg)

Matchup details: There’s only one undefeated team remaining in EuroLeague Women, and there’s no surprise it’s Ekaterinburg. Despite missing Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot to injury, Ekaterinburg has encountered little resistance thus far. Avenida is just a game behind Ekaterinburg in Group A, but the task ahead seems massive. Avenida has, to its credit, allowed the fewest points per game (60.3) of any EuroLeague Women team; it will need every bit of that defense and more against the Ekaterinburg giant.

Dynamo Kursk (3-3) vs. Fenerbahçe Safiport (3-3)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk); Alina Iagupova, Satou Sabally, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Amanda Zahui B., Kiah Stokes (Fenerbahçe Safiport)

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe actually has Group B’s highest cumulative point differential (+52) and its best defense (65.2 points per game allowed), so one could argue that some bad luck is behind the team’s disappointing start. The good news for the Turkish club is that there’s not much separating it from its current seventh-place position in Group B and the top of the group. The same could be said for Kursk; while not as deep as Fenerbahçe, Kursk still has plenty of high-end talent, so this will be an interesting game both on the court and in the grand scheme of things.

TTT Riga (2-4) vs. KSC Szekszárd (0-6)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Szekszárd Városi Sportcsarnok, Szekszárd

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Daugilė Šarauskaitė, Vanesa Jasa (TTT Riga); Dana Evans, Cyesha Goree, Nikolina Milić (KSC Szekszárd)

Matchup details: Evans made her EuroLeague Women debut last week for Szekszárd, but the Hungarian club fell short of its first victory once again. Perhaps this will be the week Szekszárd can get that weight off its shoulders; Riga has not looked impressive since starting the season at 2-2, and it’s the only EuroLeague Women team to currently be averaging fewer than 60 points per game (56.3).

Umana Reyer (2-4) vs. ZVVZ USK Praha (4-2)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Astou Ndour-Fall, Kayla Thornton, Yvonne Anderson (Umana Reyer); Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha)

Matchup details: Ever since Thomas and Jones rejoined Praha in late October, it’s looked like a completely different team, with a 103-52 beatdown of Riga serving as its latest statement. There’s a case to be made that Reyer is Group A’s fourth-best team, and upending Praha would make that case much stronger, but it won’t be easy; Praha has outscored everyone else in the competition (82 points per game) while ranking second in both rebounding (41.2) and assists (23).

VBW Arka Gdynia (1-5) vs. Spar Girona (3-3)

When: 1:15 p.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Megan Gustafson, Morgan Bertsch, Alice Kunek (VBW Arka Gdynia); Kennedy Burke, Michaela Onyenwere, Rebekah Gardner, Laia Palau (Spar Girona)

Matchup details: Girona has stated that Onyenwere will join the team on Dec. 1 (the 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year had been rehabbing a thumb injury), though it would be unrealistic to expect her to contribute right away. As has been the case for most of the EuroLeague Women season, it will be up to her former collegiate teammate Burke to lead the charge for Girona. Gdynia, meanwhile, continues to struggle at the bottom of Group B, largely due to a porous defense (79.3 points allowed per game). Expect a high-scoring game if nothing else.

Galatasaray (4-2) vs. Beretta Famila Schio (3-3)

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palazzetto Livio Romare, Schio

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kaela Davis, Riquna Williams, Tina Krajišnik (Galatasaray); Diamond DeShields, Charli Collier, Sandrine Gruda, Kitija Laksa, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio)

Matchup details: Galatasaray recently swapped Chelsea Dungee for Davis, and having won its fourth consecutive game last week, the Turkish club is looking to be in great shape. Things are looking up for Schio, too: Gruda was named EuroLeague Women MVP for the month of November as the club won a pair of games, while DeShields should be ready to make her debut soon. Both teams have momentum on their side heading into this matchup, so it should be a competitive game.

MBA Moscow (2-4) vs. BLMA (3-3)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Palais des Sports de Lattes, Lattes

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Nina Glonti, Zhosselina Maiga (MBA Moscow); Olivia Epoupa, Haley Peters, Sydney Wallace (BLMA)

Matchup details: The results haven’t been overly impressive, but MBA Moscow is slowly climbing its way up the ladder, having won its first two EuroLeague Women games in club history during the previous three weeks of the competition. Led by Epoupa and Wallace, BLMA’s offense is much more imposing than Moscow’s, but the French club has also allowed some big scoring efforts to opponents in recent weeks. If BLMA is to hold on to the fourth postseason seed in Group A, it must stay disciplined on the defensive end of the court and take care of business against a team many expect it to beat.

Thursday, December 2

Basket Landes (3-3) vs. Sopron Basket (4-2)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Sophie Cunningham, Clarissa dos Santos, Celine Dumerc, Marianna Tolo, Regan Magarity (Basket Landes); Gabby Williams, Shey Peddy, Briann January, Bernadett Határ (Sopron Basket)

Matchup details: Sopron has stumbled a bit lately, losing two of its last three games, and concerns about the team’s offense seem to be reasonably founded. Simply put, Sopron must keep the scores of its games low if it’s going to win. On the other hand, despite the recent addition of dos Santos, Landes hasn’t been overly impressive lately, either, having allowed over 80 points to both Girona and Galatasaray in losses. With things still tight in Group B, it’s a critical game for two teams with postseason aspirations.