The Olympic Games in Paris will steal most international women’s basketball storylines in 2024. In 2023, however, the story was Fenerbahçe Algöz Holding, as the Turkish club won its first EuroLeague Women championship in April. Here’s a look back at Fenerbahçe’s triumph and other global happenings in the women’s game.
Fenerbahçe announces EuroLeague Women dominance
Fenerbahçe Algöz Holding entered the EuroLeague Women postseason favored to win the club’s first championship. Fenerbahçe, Beretta Famila Schio, CBK Mersin and ZVVZ USK Praha advanced to the Final Four, before Fenerbahçe—blessed with an excess of WNBA talent in Breanna Stewart, Courtney Vandersloot, Emma Meesseman, Satou Sabally and Kayla McBride—defeated Mersin to win it all. Stewart dropped a EuroLeague Women-record 35 points in the final, winning MVP honors with, according to our expert Eric Nemchock, “one of the most statistically impressive individual performance in EuroLeague Women history.”
Although Stewart is not suiting up for the defending champions for the 2023-24 EuroLeague Women season, Fenerbahçe retained their favored status, led by Meeseman, McBride and new addition Natasha Howard. Although tested by Casademont Zaragoza in Week 3, Fener remained undefeated until Week 9 when LDLC ASVEL Féminin, elevated by the arrivals of Gabby Williams, Marine Johannès and Stephanie Dolson, scored the upset. Players familiar to NCAAW and WNBA who have turned in strong efforts for their EuroLeague Women clubs through the competition’s first 10 weeks include Ezi Magbegor for Praha, Arella Guirantes for Schio, Marina Mabrey for Mersin and Brittney Sykes for BC Polkowice.
WNBA players star in WNBL and WCBA
Since the 2023 WNBA season ended, a number of players have taken their talents to China and the WCBA for the first time since the league suspended play in early 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. W favorites, such as Alyssa Thomas and Satou Sabally, have been showing out for Chinese fans.
Other WNBA players have opted to go Down Under, as Australia’s WNBL remains a popular venue for players to develop their games during the offseason. Jordin Canada and Aari McDonald, among others, have been getting buckets for their WNBL squads.
And be sure to catch Canada, McDonald and your other WNBA faves playing in the WNBL on the WNBA App, which is now streaming WNBL games for free.
First qualifiers for EuroBasket Women 2025
A look back at 2023 includes a look ahead to 2025? That’s the case with EuroBasket Women qualifiers, as the first qualification window for the 2025 competition took place in November. 36 contending teams from the continent played two qualifying games, with upsets by Luxembourg and Poland, which has been boosted by former WNBA player Stephanie Mavunga, presaging the excitement to come. The next window of qualifiers will be held in February 2024.
Team USA looks toward 2024
Under head coach Cheryl Reeve, Team USA did begin their preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, taking on Duke and Tennessee in a pair of exhibition games in November. The US also earned the right to defend their 2020 3x3 basketball gold medal, as a number of players suited up for the red, white and blue in a series of qualifying tournaments to punch the Americans’ ticket to the Olympics.