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EuroLeague Women: Can Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd repeat early-season upset of Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding in Week 9?

One of the most dramatic moments of the 2022-23 EuroLeague Women season was Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd’s upset of league favorite Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding back in Week 2 of group play. The two clubs will meet again in Week 9, though Fenerbahçe has received significant reinforcements since then, including Breanna Stewart and Satou Sabally.

Cyesha Goree came up big in Szekszárd’s early-season victory over Fenerbahçe, leading all scorers with 30 points.
Image courtesy of EuroLeague Women (@EuroLeagueWomen) via Twitter

The 2022-23 EuroLeague Women season has been chock full of dramatic moments thus far, perhaps none bigger than Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd’s (Hungary) double-overtime upset victory over Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (Turkey) back in Week 2 of group play. It was the first-ever win for Szekszárd in the competition’s history (the club went 0-14 in group play in 2021-22) and a humbling defeat for Fenerbahçe, which entered the season as one of the favorites to win the EuroLeague Women title.

The stunning result will surely be fresh in the minds of both teams as they meet again on Wednesday. Much has changed since Week 2, particularly for Fenerbahçe; forwards Breanna Stewart, Emma Meesseman and Satou Sabally have all joined the team (Natasha Howard, whose contract with the club was a partial one, has departed), significantly improving the overall firepower of its roster.

That firepower was on full display last week when Fenerbahçe defeated the then-leader of Group A, Polish club BC Polkowice, by 50 points in what could be described as a statement win:

Elsewhere in the competition, two of the preseason favorites in Group B — defending EuroLeague Women champs Sopron Basket (Hungary) and CBK Mersin Yenişehir Bld (Turkey) will meet for the second time in group play. As with Fenerbahçe, there’s been significant player movement on Mersin’s end since its Week 2 loss to Sopron; Chelsea Gray and Tiffany Hayes joined the team, and while Jonquel Jones has left, Mersin was able to plug that hole in the frontcourt by signing Elizabeth Williams, who is expected to make her season debut this week. Both Mersin and Sopron have won three straight games, so their matchup on Thursday will definitely be one to watch.

These games, along with all other EuroLeague Women matchups, will be streamed live and for free on FIBA’s EuroLeague Women YouTube channel. Let’s check in with every other club in the competition and go over the rest of this week’s games.

Wednesday, January 11

Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (6-2) vs. Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd (3-5)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Breanna Stewart, Satou Sabally, Emma Meesseman, Kayla McBride, Alina Iagupova, Kiah Stokes, Olivia Epoupa (Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding); Victoria Vivians, Ruthy Hebard, Cyesha Goree, Sydney Wallace (Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd)

Matchup details: Fenerbahçe had difficulty containing Goree (30 points) and Vivians (25 points) in its first meeting with Szekszárd, numbers that, while inflated by the length of that game, speak to how dangerous the Hungarian club can be. Fortunately for Fenerbahçe, its recent reinforcements proved to be more than enough against Polkowice; Sabally scored 17, Stewart scored 14 and the team as a whole shot nearly 60 percent from the floor. Szekszárd will need another massive effort from its own imports if it’s going to repeat Week 2’s shocker.

ZVVZ USK Praha (6-2) vs. Valencia Basket Club (5-3)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: Královka Arena, Prague

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde, Temi Fagbenle, Valériane Vukosavljević (ZVVZ USK Praha); Lauren Cox, Marie Gülich, Raquel Carrera, Leticia Romero, Alba Torrens (Valencia Basket Club)

Matchup details: EuroLeague Women fans have become accustomed to seeing Thomas put up big numbers for Praha. She currently ranks in the top three in efficiency (27.8), points (18.8), rebounds (seven) and steals (2.6) per game. How much Valencia can challenge Praha in this game will obviously hinge on its ability to slow Thomas down; Praha won their Week 2 meeting, a competitive 83-76 final, in spite of 18 points, six rebounds and three steals from Gülich. Valencia currently ranks second among all teams in 3-point shooting percentage (37.7), which may very well give it a chance against the Group A powerhouse.

BC Polkowice (6-2) vs. Olympiacós SFP (0-8)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: City Sports Hall, Polkowice

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Stephanie Mavunga, Erica Wheeler, Artemis Spanou, Weronika Gajda (BC Polkowice); Megan Gustafson, Kylee Shook (Olympiacós SFP)

Matchup details: Polkowice is undoubtedly still smarting after the blowout loss it suffered to Fenerbahçe last week, and who better to take it out on than the only winless club in EuroLeague Women? Gustafson has been one of the most productive players in the competition, averaging 24.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, but Olympiacós’ defense has been poor; look no further than the last time these two clubs met (an 83-70 Polkowice victory) for a summary of the Greek club’s weaknesses. Gustafson recorded 30 points in that game, but Olympiacós was outrebounded 52-28, and Polkowice hit 10 threes.

Basket Landes (1-7) vs. Perfumerias Avenida (5-3)

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Espace François-Mitterrand, Mont-de-Marsan

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Marine Fauthoux, Regan Magarity, Celine Dumerc (Basket Landes); Bridget Carleton, Michaela Onyenwere, Maite Cazorla, Aleksandra Crvendakić (Perfumerias Avenida)

Matchup details: Avenida has slipped as of late, falling all the way to No. 5 in the Group B standings after two straight losses, so this week’s matchup against Landes comes at a good time. Avenida defeated the French club handily, 81-57, back in Week 2, and nothing Landes has done since then (58.4 points per game; lowest in EuroLeague Women) has inspired much confidence that it’s a club that can compete with the league’s best. Avenida currently leads EuroLeague Women in 3-point shooting accuracy (38.9 percent).

Tango Bourges Basket (4-4) vs. Virtus Segafredo Bologna (2-6)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Palais des Sports du Prado, Bourges

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Yvonne Anderson, Kayla Alexander (Tango Bourges Basket); Cheyenne Parker, Iliana Rupert, Cecilia Zandalasini, Kitija Laksa (Virtus Segafredo Bologna)

Matchup details: Has there been a bigger overall disappointment thus far than Bologna? The Italian club has suffered three losses by three points or fewer, and one of those came to Bourges back in Week 2 (64-61). The individual matchup between Parker and Alexander will be one to watch, while Anderson remains one of the most exciting players with the ball in her hands in EuroLeague Women.

Thursday, January 12

Sopron Basket (6-2) vs. CBK Mersin Yenişehir Bld (5-3)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Ezi Magbegor, Yvonne Turner, Jelena Brooks (Sopron Basket); Chelsea Gray, DeWanna Bonner, Tiffany Hayes, Elizabeth Williams, Briann January (CBK Mersin Yenişehir Bld)

Matchup details: After a slow start to group play, Mersin is now looking more like the force it was widely expected to be. Sopron stands as a true test for how far the Turkish club has come in recent weeks; the defending champion club has always played stingy defense, but will it have enough on the other end of the floor to keep up with offensive powerhouses Gray and Hayes?

Beretta Famila Schio (5-3) vs. Spar Girona (5-3)

When: 1:30 p.m. ET

Where: Palazzetto Livio Romare, Schio

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Rhyne Howard, Marina Mabrey, Amanda Zahui B., Astou Ndour-Fall, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio); Brittney Sykes, Rebekah Gardner, Marianna Tolo, Shay Murphy (Spar Girona)

Matchup details: Schio and Girona may have identical records, but they’re headed in opposite directions. Schio has dropped two games in a row after starting group play 5-1, while Girona has won two-straight to force itself back into the picture in Group B. Pace of play will be critical in this game; Schio has the edge in offense, but Girona is allowing just 60.4 points per game (lowest in EuroLeague Women) and has arguably the two best perimeter defenders in the competition in Gardner and Sykes to throw at Mabrey and Howard.

Kangoeroes Mechelen (1-7) vs. DVTK HUN-Therm (4-4)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Sporthal De Schalk, Willebroek

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Morgan Bertsch, Lisa Berkani, Ziomara Morrison (Kangoeroes Mechelen); Arella Guirantes, Cheridene Green (DVTK HUN-Therm)

Matchup details: Mechelen and DVTK are two of the youngest teams in the competition (average player age of 22 and 23 years old, respectively), and while both have had up-and-down seasons thus far, they’re a good match for each other, as Week 2’s 79-78 result proved. DVTK is actually on the upswing, having won two-straight games and defeating the favored Schio last week; could we be seeing an improbable playoff run from Guirantes and company? They’ll need to beat the teams they’re supposed to, Mechelen included, in order to make that happen.