clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

EuroLeague Women: Fenerbahçe showing little rust; Polkowice signs Brittney Sykes

Defending EuroLeague Women champions Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding looked strong last week as they opened their title defense. This week, several big-name players will make their debuts for their respective clubs, including Brittney Sykes, Diamond Miller and Marina Mabrey.

Kayla McBride earned EuroLeague Women Player of the Week honors as Fenerbahçe rolled to victory in Week 1.
Photo courtesy of Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (@fbkadinbasket) via X

The 2023-24 EuroLeague Women season may have just started, but it didn’t take reigning competition champions Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding long to get back into the swing of things. The Turkish club opened its title defense with a 30-point win over Valencia Basket, with Kayla McBride’s 16 points, six rebounds and six assists earning her fan-voted Player of the Week honors. Joining McBride are Napheesa Collier and Emma Meesseman, who combined to score 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting in the team’s win.

Fenerbahçe is far from the only club participating in EuroLeague Women that has all-world caliber talent, but not every club is at full strength yet. As is typical of most EuroLeague Women seasons, players are still trickling in from previous commitments, so we’ll expect to see a few big names in Week 2 that we didn’t see last week. For example, last season’s runners-up Çukurova Basketbol Mersin recently welcomed Elizabeth Williams and Marina Mabrey to their ranks, while Diamond Miller should soon be making her debut for SERCO UNI Győr.

Also of note is KGHM BC Polkowice’s signing of Brittney Sykes. Sykes, who got off to a tremendous start last season for Sopron Basket before transferring to Spar Girona, joins a Polkowice club that desperately needs better guard play after losing Erica Wheeler (15.7 points and 7.4 assists per game in 2022-23). Polkowice also is waiting on Stephanie Mavunga’s (15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game in 2022-23) return from an arm injury suffered late last season.

McBride, Sykes, Mabrey, Williams and Miller are just a handful of the big-name players whose games will be on display this week. All of the action can be streamed live and for free on FIBA’s official EuroLeague Women YouTube channel. Here’s everything else you need to know heading into the second week of the competition’s group play phase.

Tuesday, October 10

Virtus Segafredo Bologna (1-0) vs. SERCO UNI Győr (0-1)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: University Hall in Györ

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Lauren Cox, Iliana Rupert, Cecilia Zandalasini, Ivana Dojkić, Haley Peters (Virtus Segafredo Bologna); Diamond Miller, Kristine Anigwe, Cyesha Goree, Destiny Slocum (SERCO UNI Győr)

Matchup details: Bologna was one of the competition’s most impressive teams in its opening week, scoring 90 points and knocking down nine 3-pointers in a comfortable win over Polkowice. It’s no surprise that a roster with Zandalasini and Dojkić is going to get up its fair share of long balls, and Bologna could be one of EuroLeague Women’s higher-scoring clubs this season with its ability to space the floor. Győr didn’t have much trouble scoring the ball last week, either, though Anigwe’s 27 points and 16 rebounds were for naught in an overtime loss against Villeneuve. We’ll see if the addition of Miller will be enough to lift Györ past another tough opponent.

Wednesday, October 11

LDLC ASVEL Féminin (0-1) vs. Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (1-0)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall in Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Sandrine Gruda, Marine Fauthoux (LDLC ASVEL Féminin); Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride, Emma Meesseman, Yvonne Anderson, Kitija Laksa, Nikolina Milic (Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding)

Matchup details: At a later point this season, this could be a marquee matchup. Unfortunately for ASVEL, Marine Johannès is still competing in the WNBA Finals with the New York Liberty, while Gabby Williams continues to recover from a stress fracture injury in her foot. Weeks ago, Fenerbahçe took on ASVEL in the perennial SuperCup game (played between last season’s EuroLeague Women and EuroCup Women winners) and won by an enormous margin; things may be a tad closer this time around, but ASVEL is still significantly out-gunned by Fenerbahçe at this juncture.

Casademont Zaragoza (1-0) vs. DVTK HUN-Therm (1-0)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: DVTK Arena in Miskolc

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Tanaya Atkinson, Leonie Fiebich, Aleksa Gulbe (Casademont Zaragoza); Kaila Charles (DVTK HUN-Therm)

Matchup details: DVTK was one of last season’s surprise teams, but probably won’t be sneaking up one anyone this time around, and though the young Hungarian club was able to take advantage of a depleted ASVEL team in Week 1, Zaragoza will present a much stiffer challenge. Zaragoza did a phenomenal job of moving the basketball around in its opening-week victory over Sepsi-SIC, getting double-digit scoring efforts from five players and shooting 51.7 percent from the field. How successfully DVTK defends such an offense this week will go a long way in evaluating whether it’s ready to take that next step as a club.

Basket Landes (0-1) vs. Çukurova Basketbol Mersin (0-1)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: Servet Tazegül Spor Salonu in Mersin

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alexis Peterson, Sam Fuehring, Luisa Geiselsöder (Basket Landes); Alina Iagupova, Marina Mabrey, Elizabeth Williams (Çukurova Basketbol Mersin)

Matchup details: Mersin came out surprisingly flat last week, though the Turkish club could be forgiven as it was missing two starters. Mabrey, who averaged 14.4 points and 3.6 assists per game last season for Schio, will form an exciting backcourt duo with former EuroLeague Women MVP Iagupova. Williams’ interior defense will go a long way for a Mersin club that allowed Avenida to shoot 67.6 percent on 2-pointers last week. Landes hopes to improve upon last season’s 4-10 record in group play. And while the French club got off to a rough start last week against Praha, Peterson is the type of guard who can take over a game offensively and hopefully lead her team to a few more wins this time around.

Beretta Famila Schio (1-0) vs. ACS Sepsi-SIC (0-1)

When: 12:15 p.m. ET

Where: Sepsi Aréna in Sfântu Gheorghe

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Dorka Juhász, Arella Guirantes, Robyn Parks, Jasmine Keys (Beretta Famila Schio); Bethy Mununga, Borislava Hristova, Morgan Green, Ellen Nystrom (ACS Sepsi-SIC)

Matchup details: Schio may not have the amount of firepower that led it to a third-place finish last season, but young players like Guirantes and Juhász have the potential to become household names in EuroLeague Women. They’re off to a good start after beating Lublin by 20 points last week. Sepsi-SIC, on the other hand, struggled to control the basketball against Zaragoza, recording just nine assists to 18 turnovers in a 28-point loss. That being said, there’s a fair number of intriguing individual matchups here, particularly in the frontcourt; Juhász will need to work hard against Mununga, who averaged 12 rebounds per game in the EuroLeague Women qualifiers and was a major reason why Sepsi-SIC advanced to group play.

ZVVZ USK Praha (1-0) vs. KGHM BC Polkowice (0-1)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: City Sports in Polkowice

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Ezi Magbegor, Maite Cazorla, Maria Conde, Valériane Vukosavljević (ZVVZ USK Praha); Charli Collier, Brianna Fraser (KGHM BC Polkowice)

Matchup details: No Alyssa Thomas? No problem for Praha—at least not so far. The Czech club, which had become a regular at the top of the EuroLeague Women leaderboards with Thomas as its featured player, recently moved on from their partnership, but has to be impressed with Magbegor’s early returns (20 points and 12 rebounds in a Week 1 victory). It’s the type of matchup Polkowice wishes it had Mavunga healthy for, and the forward was clearly missed last week against Bologna; imports Collier and Fraser will have their hands full with Magbegor and the rest of Praha’s physical squad in Week 2.

Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin (0-1) vs. Valencia Basket Club (0-1)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Pabellón Municipal Fuente de San Luis in Valencia

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Shyla Heal (Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin); Raquel Carrera, Marie Gülich, Alba Torrens, Leticia Romero, Clauda Contell (Valencia Basket Club)

Matchup details: It’s unlikely that Rebecca Allen’s services would have done much to hold off last week’s drubbing at the hands of Fenerbahçe, but the opening-week blowout stung nonetheless for a Valencia club that entered the season with high expectations. Torrens, Romero and company will likely have a much easier time this week against Lublin, whose 50 points scored last week against Schio were the fewest of any EuroLeague Women team.

Villeneuve d’Ascq LM vs. Perfumerias Avenida (1-0)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Pabellón Municipal de Würzburg in Salamanca

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Kennedy Burke, Kamiah Smalls, Shavonte Zellous, Maia Hirsch (Villeneuve d’Ascq LM); Bria Hartley, Sika Koné, Silvia Dominguez (Perfumerias Avenida)

Matchup details: Villeneuve won an overtime thriller in Week 1, sneaking past Győr 93-92 behind an incredible performance from Burke (29 points, nine rebounds and six steals). Her two-way play will be of the utmost importance this week against Hartley, who appears to be in for a big season; Hartley has struggled with injuries in recent years and last participated in EuroLeague Women for Fenerbahçe in 2022, though her role for Avenida will likely be much bigger this season as the go-to scorer for the Spanish club.