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EuroLeague Women: Postponed games add drama to Week 13 action, playoff push

We’re in the home stretch of the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women regular season, but COVID-19-related disruptions have made the remaining schedule a bit messy. It’s further complicated a tight playoff scenario in Group B, while Group A will need to wait until next week to determine its fourth and final postseason entry.

Umana Reyer Venezia v BLMA Montpellier - Euroleague Women
Sydney Wallace (right) and BLMA initially had an opportunity to secure a EuroLeague Women postseason berth this week, but both of their scheduled games have been postponed.
Photo by Mattia Radoni/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With just two weeks remaining in the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women regular season, the playoff picture is becoming clearer, but there’s still much to be decided — both on and off the court.

While we’re currently in Week 13 of the 14-week regular season, the competition is still due to make up games from as early as Week 11. COVID-19-related disruptions have forced games to be postponed and rescheduled for several weeks now, making the remaining schedule a bit of a mess as FIBA scrambles to fit everything in before the postseason begins in late February.

Needless to say, it’s an unenviable task for an international basketball competition, but the volatile situation does add further suspense to the postseason push. Three clubs have clinched berths to the playoffs thus far, all from Group A: UMMC Ekaterinburg, Perfumerias Avenida and ZVVZ USK Praha.

This means that there’s only one EuroLeague Women playoff spot remaining in Group A (the No. 5 and No. 6 seeds in each group will participate separately in the EuroCup Women quarterfinals, per the league’s competition system), and French club BLMA (6-5) is currently the favorite to land it, sitting a game and a half ahead of TTT Riga (5-7), but neither team will play any games this week due to COVID-19-related disruptions. BLMA, in particular, had a pair of games scheduled for the week, but these were recently postponed.

Over in Group B, however, things are much more open, with all four EuroLeague Women playoff spots still up for grabs. There are a few games this week involving contending clubs such as Sopron Basket (7-4), Beretta Famila Schio (7-4), Fenerbahçe Safiport (7-3), Spar Girona (6-5) and Dynamo Kursk (6-5), while Galatasaray (6-5) and Basket Landes (4-7) are in position to play spoiler.

It’s also important to note that additional games scheduled for this week have been postponed due to COVID-19-related disruptions:

While this can understandably be difficult to keep track of, there’s still plenty of world-class basketball to be played. All EuroLeague Women games are streamed live and for free on FIBA’s EuroLeague Women YouTube channel. Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening this week.


Wednesday, January 26

VBW Arka Gdynia (2-10) vs. Fenerbahçe Safiport (7-3)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, IstanbulWed

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Megan Gustafson, Morgan Bertsch, Alice Kunek (VBW Arka Gdynia); Alina Iagupova, Satou Sabally, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Amanda Zahui B., Kiah Stokes, Bria Hartley (Fenerbahçe Safiport)

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe hasn’t played in over a month due to COVID-19-related disruptions, so one would presume that the Group B favorites will be well-rested for this one. They’ll also welcome Hartley, who last played for the club in the 2018-19 season, back to their roster, giving the team valuable guard depth. Gdynia continues to struggle on defense; its 77.2 points allowed per game ranks 14th of the 16 teams in the competition, so it’s entirely possible that this will be one of the highest-scoring games of the week.

Perfumerias Avenida (9-2) vs. KSC Szekszárd (0-11)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Szekszárd Városi Sportcsarnok, Szekszárd

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); Dana Evans, Cyesha Goree, Nikolina Milić (KSC Szekszárd)

Matchup details: Szekszárd didn’t play at all last week, and its reward is two games against two of the top three teams in Group A. Avenida has been on fire since its Week 7 loss to Ekaterinburg, recently earning a major victory over Praha, its fourth consecutive win. Copper, in particular, remains magnificent; she’s averaging 26 points per game and is currently considered the favorite to win EuroLeague Women MVP, according to FIBA.com. This is, to say the least, a mismatch.

Galatasaray (5-6) vs. Sopron Basket (7-4)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kaela Davis, Kelsey Plum, Tina Krajišnik (Galatasaray); Gabby Williams, Briann January, Bernadett Határ (Sopron Basket)

Matchup details: Galatasaray impressed last week in Plum’s debut, handily defeating Girona. And while their prized new import struggled from the field (5-for-20), she did contribute nine rebounds and six assists. If there’s one club in the competition that can lock Plum down, it’s Sopron, with its myriad of athletic perimeter defenders and one of the competition’s top rim protectors in Határ. With Group B’s No. 1 overall postseason seed at stake, every defensive stop for Sopron will be crucial.

Dynamo Kursk (6-5) vs. Beretta Famila Schio (7-4)

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palazzetto Livio Romare, Schio

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk); Diamond DeShields, Charli Collier, Sandrine Gruda, Kitija Laksa, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio)

Matchup details: Schio has been on a roll, winning four of its last five games, and now encounters a Kursk team with its back against the wall. There’s no question that Kursk has the individual talent to get things done, but its rebounding (33.5 per game; 15th in EuroLeague Women) has kept the club from reaching its full potential for most of the season. That’s a recipe for disaster against a front line of Collier and Gruda.

Saturday, January 29

KSC Szekszárd (0-11) vs. UMMC Ekaterinburg (11-0)

When: 7 a.m. ET

Where: UMMC Sport Palace, Ekaterinburg

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

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

Matchup details: The team records say it all. If Szekszárd seemed overmatched against Avenida earlier in the week, it’s likely to be even worse against Ekaterinburg, which currently leads EuroLeague Women in scoring (85.1 points), rebounds (44.7) and assists (25.1). It’s easy to root for Szekszárd to earn its first-ever EuroLeague Women win, but it probably won’t happen here.

Dynamo Kursk (6-5) vs. Spar Girona (6-5)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Arike Ogunbowale, Natasha Howard, Epiphanny Prince, Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk); Kennedy Burke, Michaela Onyenwere, Rebekah Gardner, Laia Palau, Magali Mendy (Spar Girona)

Matchup details: As far as postseason implications go, this game could be the biggest of the week. Originally scheduled to play two weeks ago, Kursk and Girona both need this win desperately — Kursk, perhaps even more so, depending on how its Wednesday game against Schio turns out. Both teams are in postseason contention in Group B, but seeing as only four of the five contenders in the group will be able to advance to the postseason, this is a must-win game no matter which way you slice it.

Fenerbahçe Safiport (7-3) vs. Sopron Basket (7-4)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alina Iagupova, Satou Sabally, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Amanda Zahui B., Kiah Stokes, Bria Hartley (Fenerbahçe Safiport); Gabby Williams, Briann January, Bernadett Határ (Sopron Basket)

Matchup details: This has the potential to be the game of the week, especially if both Fenerbahçe and Sopron win their respective games on Wednesday. Fenerbahçe, which has slowly been climbing the Group B standings after a disappointingly slow start to the season, will have a chance to take the group’s top spot from Sopron, which currently scores the second-least amount of points (68.3) per game in the group. As usual, it will be up to Sopron’s defense to frustrate Fenerbahçe’s star-studded roster and keep the pace in its favor.

Sunday, January 30

Galatasaray (5-6) vs. Basket Landes (4-7)

When: 9:30 a.m. ET

Where: Espace François Mitterrand, Mont-de-Marsan

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kaela Davis, Kelsey Plum, Tina Krajišnik (Galatasaray); Sophie Cunningham, Marianna Tolo, Regan Magarity, Marine Fauthoux (Basket Landes)

Matchup details: Neither of these teams will be making the EuroLeague Women playoffs, but the EuroCup Women quarterfinals are still attainable, so there’s something to play for. If Galatasaray wins on Wednesday, it will be in the driver’s seat for Group B’s No. 6 seed; if not, this game will hold a lot more weight. Galatasaray beat Landes handily back in Week 4, and though much has happened since then, the Turkish club is likely still the stronger team and will be favored in this one.