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EuroLeague Women: Fenerbahçe Safiport takes on Beretta Famila Schio in make-up game

A handful of postponed EuroLeague Women games for the 2021-22 regular season still need to be made up, so FIBA has moved the postseason back to accommodate the make-ups. This week, Fenerbahçe Safiport takes aim at Beretta Famila Schio, which upset the Group B favorites earlier in the regular season.

Satou Sabally is just one of several WNBA stars who have suited up for Fenerbahçe Safiport this EuroLeague Women season.
Photo courtesy of EuroLeague Women (@EuroLeagueWomen) via Twitter

Although the 2021-22 EuroLeague Women regular season was originally scheduled to end two weeks ago, COVID-19-related disruptions have forced the postponement of quite a few games over the past two months. According to FIBA, the EuroLeague Women postseason has been pushed back and will now begin on March 8, giving the competition enough time to make up the regular-season games that still need to be played.

Among those games is a matchup between Fenerbahçe Safiport (10-3) and Beretta Famila Schio (8-5) that was originally scheduled to take place on Jan. 19. It’s a big game for postseason seeding purposes, as Schio is currently in control of the fourth and final playoff seed in Group B, but has not yet clinched it; a win over Fenerbahçe this Saturday would make things official.

Granted, that will be easier said than done. Fenerbahçe has been playing world-class basketball, winning eight consecutive games dating back to early Nov. 2021. Fenerbahçe’s last loss, incidentally, was to Schio, though the club looks much different now than it did then, having returned the multi-talented Satou Sabally from injury and adding the services of combo guard Bria Hartley. The Turkish club clinched a spot in the EuroLeague Women postseason weeks ago and has since earned the top overall playoff seed in Group B.

Over in Group A, things are a bit more scattered. BLMA (6-5) and MBA Moscow (3-8), for instance, each still have three games to make up; they’ll play head-to-head this Thursday. BLMA is currently the favorite to earn the fourth postseason seed in Group A, but TTT Riga (5-7) could still sneak in if BLMA loses the remainder of its games. Keep in mind that the No. 5 and No. 6 teams in each group qualify for the EuroCup Women postseason, so despite its poor EuroLeague Women record, Moscow still has something to play for as well.

This variety of circumstances across the competition keeps things interesting, at the very least, even though some clubs, such as Sopron Basket and Dynamo Kursk, have already completed their 14-game regular season. All EuroLeague Women games can be streamed live and for free on FIBA’s EuroLeague Women YouTube channel.

Thursday, February 17

BLMA (6-5) vs. MBA Moscow (3-8)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Basket Hall, Moscow

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

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

Matchup details: Neither BLMA nor Moscow have played a EuroLeague Women game in nearly a month due to COVID-19 disruptions, so throwing them into the fire in a high-stakes situation should make for some entertaining basketball. BLMA, in particular, needs to win only one of its remaining three games in order to clinch a EuroLeague Women postseason appearance, and with big-name players such as Wallace (15.9 points per game) and Epoupa (3.1 steals per game), the French club is well-equipped to do just that. It was a relatively high-scoring affair (86-77) the last time these teams met, and given how many 3-pointers Moscow likes to shoot, Thursday’s rematch has the potential to be another barnburner.

Saturday, February 19

Beretta Famila Schio (8-5) vs. Fenerbahçe Safiport (10-3)

When: 10 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Diamond DeShields, Sandrine Gruda, Kitija Laksa, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio); Alina Iagupova, Satou Sabally, Kayla McBride, Elizabeth Williams, Amanda Zahui B., Kiah Stokes, Bria Hartley (Fenerbahçe Safiport)

Matchup details: FIBA’s game of the week, there’s certainly more than enough star power featured here. Unfortunately for Schio, it’s mostly on the Fenerbahçe side: McBride currently ranks third in the competition in scoring (19.8 points per game) while Iagupova ranks third in assists (5.5 per game). To Schio’s credit, Gruda is having yet another successful season in her storied international career — the French center is currently averaging 14.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game in EuroLeague Women play — and she’ll have her work cut out for her against a deep Fenerbahçe front line, especially with an ailing Charli Collier (hip) no longer with the team.

TTT Riga (5-7) vs. ZVVZ USK Praha (9-4)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Daugilė Šarauskaitė, Ieva Pulvere (TTT Riga); Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha)

Matchup details: On paper, this is a mismatch. As a team, Praha ranks second in EuroLeague Women in both scoring (83.5 points per game) and assists (22.9 per game) and leads the competition in rebounding (43.7 per game). Praha also obliterated Riga 103-52 in their last meeting. Perhaps Riga can catch its opponent off guard this time around; this game is, for all intents and purposes, merely a tune-up for Praha, which has been locked into a EuroLeague Women postseason berth and has cooled off considerably since its six-game winning streak earlier in the season.

Sunday, February 20

Umana Reyer (3-9) vs. MBA Moscow (3-8)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Basket Hall, Moscow

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

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

Matchup details: Reyer has lost four consecutive games, and while three of those losses were to Group A’s strongest teams in Praha, Perfumerias Avenida and UMMC Ekaterinburg, there are no moral victories when the cost is a playoff appearance. Reyer still has a shot at hanging onto Group A’s No. 6 seed and a EuroCup postseason berth, but will need to exact revenge on Moscow first — the Russian club edged Reyer 62-61 back in early November.