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EuroLeague Women: Evaluating each club five games into the 2023-24 season

Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding and DVTK HUN-Therm remain undefeated five games into the 2023-24 EuroLeague Women season. With the competition currently on hiatus, let’s take a look at what has made each club successful—or not—to this point.

Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding v Beretta Famila Schio - FIBA EuroLeague Women
Emma Meesseman (right) has been her usual efficient self for reigning EuroLeague Women champions Fenerbahçe.
Photo by Elif Ozturk Ozgoncu/Anadolu via Getty Images

The 2023-24 EuroLeague Women season currently is on hiatus for what is casually known as the “national team break.” This three-week period in early November accounts for FIBA hosting a qualifying tournament for the EuroBasket Women 2025, which features the best national teams in Europe as well as some of EuroLeague Women’s top players.

While we still need to wait another week for EuroLeague Women to resume on Nov. 22, let’s use the national team break to check in with each of its 16 competing clubs. Who’s hot, who’s not, and what should you be watching for when they take the court next week?

Group A

Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (5-0)

So far, so good for the defending champs. This season’s Fenerbahçe squad may not be quite as star-studded as the one that cruised to the 2023 EuroLeague Women title, but it’s still leading the competition in scoring by a country mile (90.2 points per game) and is the only club to have three players (Kayla McBride, Emma Meesseman and Yvonne Anderson) averaging better than four assists per game. McBride, in particular, has been marvelous to start the season, averaging 17.4 points and 3.4 3-pointers (43.6 percent 3-point shooting) per game and earning EuroLeague Women Most Valuable Player honors for the month of October. Upcoming games against Valencia and DVTK will be tests, but given how much better Fenerbahçe has been than every other club in Group A to this point, the possibility of going undefeated in group play once again seems very real.

DVTK HUN-Therm (5-0)

Did anyone see this coming? DVTK has already nearly matched its win total from last season (which was its first competing in EuroLeague Women), earning a place in this season’s field via play-in and catching fire ever since. In lieu of the star power boasted by the competition’s bigger-name clubs, DVTK has enjoyed this early-season success by turning games into slow-paced, defensive battles, holding three of its first five opponents under 60 points and ranking second in the competition in rebounds per game (39.6). There’s a lot of room for regression here—scoring against top competition will be a concern the rest of the way, as evidenced by the club’s unspectacular assist/turnover ratio of 1.06—but DVTK’s winning-ugly style has given it a terrific cushion in the Group A standings.

Casademont Zaragoza (3-2)

Statistically, Zaragoza profiles as a mediocre club thus far, ranking around the middle of the pack in most categories. The 3-point shot has been kind to them, however; the Spanish club is currently knocking down 36.6 percent of its long-range attempts (third in EuroLeague Women), which has been enough to keep it in every game it’s played. While Zaragoza lost its early-season games against Fenerbahçe and DVTK, both losses came by just three points, which bodes well for the rest of group play. 23-year old wing Leonie Fiebich leads the charge for Zaragoza, averaging 12.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while knocking down an even 50 percent of her 3-point attempts.

Valencia Basket Club (3-2)

Valencia has struggled shooting the ball thus far (43.9 percent on 2-pointers and 27.9 percent on 3-pointers) but has kept its collective heads above water thanks to a defense that records 8.8 steals per game. This is a better roster than its shooting numbers might suggest, with established EuroLeague Women veterans like Alba Torrens and Rebecca Allen and exciting young talents like Raquel Carrera and Claudia Contell giving fans something to look forward to. Valencia is definitely a playoff-caliber club, and expect things to start turning in its favor once play resumes.

Beretta Famila Schio (3-2)

Schio lost most of its imported talent from last season (Rhyne Howard, Marina Mabrey and Astou Ndour-Fall) but reloaded quickly, and are thus remaining competitive. Both Robyn Parks (12.8 points per game) and Arella Guirantes (14.6 points per game) are shooting the ball well, while Dorka Juhász (6.6 points and seven rebounds per game) has been a major factor on a roster currently ranking third in the competition in rebounding. Schio plays both Zaragoza and Valencia immediately after the break—two matchups that could end up having playoff implications later in the season.

Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin (1-4)

To put it bluntly, Lublin has had massive issues scoring the basketball. The Polish club has been inefficient from both 2-point (43.2 percent) and 3-point range (20.8 percent), averaging just 53 points per game—by far the lowest mark in EuroLeague Women thus far. Go-to scorers Shyla Heal and Elin Gustavsson have been feast-or-famine offensively, and Lublin has several other players on its roster who are currently shooting below 30 percent from the field. Lublin may grind its way to another win or two over Sepsi-SIC and/or ASVEL, but ultimately this is not a club that’s ready for prime time.

ACS Sepsi-SIC (0-5)

In a way, Sepsi-SIC’s season thus far has been the opposite of DVTK’s. While the Romanian club also earned a spot in group play via the competition’s play-in system, it’s had little success since then, losing every one of its games by double-figures—including one to Lublin, a club that has otherwise struggled mightily. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as Sepsi-SIC’s play-in win against TTT Riga was not terribly convincing, and while players like Morgan Green (12.3 points and 5.9 assists per game) and Borislava Hristova (15.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game) have done well enough, the club’s assist turnover ratio of 0.76 (worst in EuroLeague Women) says all one needs to know about its playoff prospects.

LDLC ASVEL Féminin (0-5)

To say this season has been a disaster for ASVEL would be underselling it. With Gabby Williams nursing a stress fracture suffered during the WNBA season and Marine Johannès playing in the WNBA Finals, ASVEL has been without both its best defensive and offensive player, and the club’s cumulative point differential of -97 is the worst in EuroLeague Women. Johannès is expected to make her season debut after the break and the club recently signed Stefanie Dolson to shore up its frontcourt—so the situation is still salvageable. But the prestigious French club can ill-afford to lose even two or three more games if it’s going to make the playoffs.

Group B

ZVVZ USK Praha (4-1)

Praha lost a huge amount of its infrastructure before this season, but even with Alyssa Thomas ending her incredible run with the Czech club to play in China and Brionna Jones recovering from an Achilles injury, Praha just keeps on winning. Ezi Magbegor (18.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game) has quickly become one of EuroLeague Women’s biggest stars, while Maite Cazorla ranks fourth in the competition in assists per game at 5.6. As a team, Praha is leading EuroLeague Women in both rebounds (40.4) and blocks per game (six); if that can be sustained, there’s no reason why the club can’t finish at or near the top of Group B.

Çukurova Basketbol Mersin (4-1)

Though last season’s runners-up don’t have quite the amount of firepower this time around (Chelsea Gray, Tiffany Hayes and DeWanna Bonner have all since left the club), Mersin remains at the top of the Group B standings through five games. Alina Iagupova (19 points and 5.2 assists per game) and Marina Mabrey (19.3 points and 3.5 assists per game) form quite the backcourt duo, while Elizabeth Williams’ defensive playmaking on the interior (two steals and 1.3 blocks per game) remains as good as ever. Upcoming games against Praha and Polkowice will be a challenge, but Mersin should still make the playoffs regardless of how those go; the question is if the Turkish club’s ceiling is still high enough to make another run at the championship.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna (3-2)

Bologna has a roster that has shown few obvious weaknesses, boasting both perimeter scoring (Ivana Dojkić and Cecilia Zandalasini) and size on the inside (Lauren Cox and Iliana Rupert). It’s a well-balanced club, though losses to Mersin and Villeneuve d’Ascq prior to the break have brought things back to earth after a 3-0 start; in both games, Bologna failed to hit 70 points and shot poorly on 3-pointers. Bologna may not be as overly reliant on the long ball as this would suggest, but it also may not have as much margin for error if the 3-pointer isn’t falling. Two games against Praha remain on Bologna’s schedule, which will tell us a lot about the Italian club’s playoff worthiness.

KGHM BC Polkowice (3-2)

All Polkowice had to do was get in. A play-in victory over Besiktas earned the Polish club another EuroLeague Women group play berth, and, while it hasn’t gotten off to as hot of a start as it did last season, things are looking up the rest of the way. Brittney Sykes, who was signed by Polkowice shortly after group play began, is currently leading the club in both scoring and rebounding (15 and eight per game, respectively), and Stephanie Mavunga, who was playing MVP-caliber basketball last season before getting injured, is now officially back. Polkowice still needs to play all of Praha, Mersin and Bologna one more time, but if it can win even one of those matchups, things will be looking good for another playoff appearance.

Perfumerias Avenida (2-3)

Avenida got off to a 2-0 start to the season and it’s been downhill since, with the Spanish club’s most recent loss an extremely concerning blowout to Landes. On the surface, Avenida’s roster looks like one that can make some noise, but Bria Hartley and Alexis Prince have been somewhat overtaxed on the perimeter, yielding inconsistent offensive results. On the bright side of things, Mariella Fasoula is shooting an incredibly efficient 61.3 percent from the field and Sika Koné is averaging better than two offensive rebounds per game. If Avenida can figure out its guard play, it could go on a run later in the season.

Villeneuve d’Ascq LM (2-3)

Villeneuve d’Ascq is another club that seems more talented than its record suggests. Kennedy Burke (16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game) has been one of the competition’s most productive two-way players, and Kariata Diaby is averaging 11.4 points per game on 61.5 percent shooting. The rest of the club’s guards, however, have not been as productive as expected; Shavonte Zellous and Kamiah Smalls will need to contribute more than the 17.4 points per game they’re currently combining to average. Villeneuve d’Ascq’s playmaking as a unit also has been subpar, averaging 15 assists per game (14th in EuroLeague Women). There’s enough individual talent on this club for it to make the playoffs, but we haven’t seen it come together well enough yet.

SERCO UNI Győr (1-4)

An early-season knee injury to Diamond Miller took the wind out of Győr’s sails. And while the Hungarian club has put on some fun performances, its team defense (or lack thereof) has largely kept it out of games. Győr is the only club in EuroLeague Women currently allowing more than 80 points per game (83.8, to be exact), which has overshadowed impressive individual stat lines from Kristine Anigwe (18.4 points and 10 rebounds per game) and Destiny Slocum (13 points and 5.2 assists per game). Miller’s injury isn’t expected to be a long-term issue, but, even after she returns, Győr will need to improve dramatically on the defensive end if it’s going to climb into the playoff race.

Basket Landes (1-4)

There was hope that Landes would be more competitive than last season, when it went 4-10 and finished with the worst offense in EuroLeague Women. But things have not been much better for the French club this time around. The addition of Alexis Peterson at guard has given Landes a bit of a boost in the playmaking department and the club is averaging more free throw attempts per game (20.2) than any other, but its field goal efficiency has been poor (38.7 percent) and there’s not enough advantages to be created in any other area to make up for it. Perhaps Landes can play up to its competition if some more shots start falling, but right now it’s not looking like one of the more dynamic clubs in the competition.