Annually, the SuperCup serves as opening event of the European basketball calendar, with the reigning EuroLeague and EuroCup champions meeting in a single game. This year pitted Fenerbaçe, first time EuroLeague champs, against LDLC ASVEL Féminin, winners of the EuroCup.
Fenerbahçe took care of business, claiming the 109-52 victory. Here’s why the EuroLeague champs dominated:
Why Fenerbahçe was favored
Fenerbahçe entered the game as favorites for a number of reasons. For one, they were the best team in Europe the previous season, while ASVEL won EuroCup Women, the competition reserved for top European teams that did not make the EuroLeague.
The second reason was the absences on the roster of the French champions. The two most notable players missing were Marine Johannès and Julie Allemand. Johannès, the 2023 FIBA EuroCup Women Most Valuable Player, is still with the New York Liberty, hoping to bring that elusive first WNBA Championship to NYC. Allemand, former Chicago Sky guard and Belgian national team star, is out with an injury.
However, two things could have work in ASVEL’s favor. The played at home in Lyon, where that sixth man in the stands could make a difference. Furthermore, Fenerbahçe is a different team than the year before. Two of their best players, Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, are now gone. Finding suitable replacements for the reigning EuroLeague and WNBA MVP, as well as one of the best playmakers in the game, is close to impossible.
Fenerbahçe, however, was able to acquire naturalized-Serbian Yvonne Anderson and Napheesa Collier of the Lynx, while retaining her Minnesota teammate Kayla McBride as well as the best European player in Emma Meesseman.
How Fenerbahçe dominated
That foursome of Anderson, Collier, McBride and Meesseman made sure that the game was pretty much over after the first half, as Fenerbahçe headed into the break with a 51-28 lead.
For the home team, veteran center Helena Ciak scored 12 points, almost half of Lyon’s 28, in the first half. Ciak, however, would finish the contest with just 14 points. On the other side of the court, scoring was a joint effort, with McBride going 3-for-3 from 3 and Collier scoring eight points.
After the break, ASVEL’s captain Alexia Chartereau made a beautiful deep 3, followed by a two-pointer in the post. But moxie can only take you so far when dealing with an unstoppable force. While she scored 14 points, Chartereau also was responsible for seven turnovers.
Fenerbahçe was better conditioned and more focused, with Anderson running the point for the Turkish champions as if she’d done so for years even though she joined the team prior to the season. The same could be said of Collier, who feels at home in Fenerbahçe’s lineup, stealing, distributing and scoring the ball like a true leader. She finished with a game-high 20 points, along with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
And with the veteran presence of Meesseman in the middle, who was able to throw some stellar passes, Fenerbahçe continued to extend lead. Meesseman had a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds, while also adding four assists, two steals and two blocks. When various bench players stepped in for the starters, the Turkish champions did not lose a step. A prime example of the roster depth was the performance of Latvian Kitija Laksa, who went 7-for-10 from the floor on her way to 18 points.
With such a dominant performance, Fenerbahçe showed that the best team in Europe still resides in Istanbul.