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EuroLeague Women: Collier returns to Fenerbahçe ahead of Week 12

Defending EuroLeague Women champions Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding made a key acquisition prior to Week 12 of group play, bringing back multi-talented forward Napheesa Collier to further increase their level of international talent.

LDLC ASVEL vs Fenerbahce Alagoz Holding: Super Cup Women 2023
Napheesa Collier returns to Fenerbahçe, where she won the annual SuperCup Women competition last fall.
Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Napheesa Collier is back with Turkish club Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding, recently re-signing with the defending EuroLeague Women champions for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

Collier, who briefly played for Fenerbahçe earlier in the EuroLeague Women season and averaged 20 points, seven rebounds, and 4.5 steals in two games before being replaced by Natasha Howard, will rejoin the club with three games remaining in group play. Collier made a significant impact for Fenerbahçe the first time around, winning MVP honors in FIBA’s annual SuperCup Women game.

As good as Fenerbahçe has been during group play, a top playoff seed is still not guaranteed. Both Casademont Zaragoza and DVTK HUN-Therm are 8-3 and just one game behind Fenerbahçe in the Group A standings. Meanwhile, in Group B, things are just as tight, if not more so; Virtus Segafredo Bologna, KGHM BC Polkowice, and Villeneuve-d’Ascq LM are all tied at 6-5, and only two of them will be able to make the postseason.

Playoff seeding coming down to the very end of group play is not unusual in EuroLeague Women, and it’s looking like we’ll have another exciting finish this season before the playoffs begin in February. You can catch all the action live and for free on FIBA’s EuroLeague Women YouTube channel.

Wednesday, January 17

Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin (2-9) vs. Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (9-2)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall in Istanbul, Turkey

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Veronica Burton, Kylee Shook, Elin Gustavsson (Polski Cukier AZS UMCS Lublin); Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride, Emma Meesseman, Yvonne Anderson, Kitija Laksa (Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding)

Matchup details: It’s far too late in the season for Lublin to make a playoff push, but credit should still be given for the Polish club’s recent upset victory over DVTK. Lublin recorded a whopping 17 steals and, while its offense was once again unspectacular, it managed to earn a surprising edge in rebounding, which ended up being plenty good enough for a 19-point win. Chances of a similar result against Fenerbahçe, however, are slim; the defending champs simply have too much offense, especially with Collier on board, for Lublin to take away, as evidenced by Fenerbahçe’s 85-50 win back in Week 5.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna (6-5) vs. Çukurova Basketbol Mersin (7-4)

When: 11:30 a.m. ET

Where: Servet Tazegül Spor Salonu in Mersin, Turkey

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Lauren Cox, Iliana Rupert, Cecilia Zandalasini, Ivana Dojkić, Haley Peters (Virtus Segafredo Bologna); Marina Mabrey, Elizabeth Williams, Olivia Epoupa (Çukurova Basketbol Mersin)

Matchup details: Both Mersin and Bologna earned big wins last week, putting them second and third, respectively, in the Group B standings. Needless to say, this is quite a big game (albeit not make-or-break for either club) and pits two different philosophies against one another; Mersin with a slower-paced approach and a clear top offensive option in Mabrey and Bologna with several capable scorers but a less effective defense. Mabrey’s 23 points led Mersin past Bologna back in Week 5, but that was when Alina Iagupova played next to her in the Turkish club’s backcourt, a factor that can’t be overlooked.

KGHM BC Polkowice (6-5) vs. Serco UNI Győr (1-10)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: University Hall of Győr in Győr, Hungary

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Brittney Sykes, Stephanie Mavunga, Brianna Fraser (KGHM BC Polkowice); Bridget Carleton, Kristine Anigwe, Cyesha Goree, Destiny Slocum (Serco UNI Győr)

Matchup details: Polkowice gets a favorable spot schedule-wise here, as Győr now has the worst record in EuroLeague Women despite the long-awaited return of Anigwe (15 points and five rebounds last week). The last time the two clubs met, it ended in a 92-82 Polkowice victory in overtime, and seeing as how most Győr games are high-scoring, another such result wouldn’t be much of a surprise here. It’s by no means going to be an “easy” game for Polkowice—with Anigwe, Goree, Slocum and Carleton, Győr has a talented core of offensive players—but the Polish club will have a better chance of scoring the ball in this matchup than in most others.

Casademont Zaragoza (8-3) vs. Valencia Basket Club (5-6)

When: 1:15 p.m. ET

Where: Pabellón Municipal Fuente de San Luis in Valencia, Spain

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Tanaya Atkinson, Leonie Fiebich, Mikayla Pivec, Aleksa Gulbe (Casademont Zaragoza); Alina Iagupova, Marie Gülich, Alba Torrens, Leticia Romero, Raquel Carrera, Clauda Contell (Valencia Basket Club)

Matchup details: Valencia won in Iagupova’s debut for the club last week, but still finds itself two games behind Schio in the Group A standings with three games remaining. Things don’t get any easier this week; Zaragoza is currently playing the best defense in Group A (60.7 points allowed per game), has won seven of its last eight games and is surely trying to finish ahead of DVTK for Group A’s second-overall playoff seed. It’s must-win territory for Valencia, and it makes this matchup a must-see one.

Beretta Famila Schio (7-4) vs. LDLC ASVEL Féminin (3-8)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Astroballe in Villeurbanne, France

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Dorka Juhász, Arella Guirantes, Robyn Parks, Jasmine Keys (Beretta Famila Schio); Gabby Williams, Marine Johannès, Stefanie Dolson, Julie Allemand, Sandrine Gruda, Marine Fauthoux (LDLC ASVEL Féminin)

Matchup details: Schio earned a massive victory last week, handing Fenerbahçe its second loss of the season and keeping critical distance between itself and Valencia in the Group A standings. Though the Italian club hasn’t officially clinched anything yet, things are now looking good, especially if Week 5 repeats itself and Schio can defeat ASVEL by over 20 points again. While that probably won’t happen, ASVEL is our latest example of high-end talent not necessarily guaranteeing a successful basketball team; the French club has been all but eliminated from playoff contention after last week’s loss to Zaragoza.

ZVVZ USK Praha (10-1) vs. Villeneuve-d’Ascq LM (6-5)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Where: Le Palacium in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Ezi Magbegor, Nyara Sabally, Maite Cazorla, Maria Conde, Valériane Ayayi (ZVVZ USK Praha); Kennedy Burke, Kamiah Smalls, Shavonte Zellous, Bethy Mununga, Kariata Diaby (Villeneuve-d’Ascq LM)

Matchup details: Praha became the second club in the competition (the first in Group B) to officially clinch a playoff berth last week, though that was only a formality; the Czech giants haven’t lost since Week 2 and, with the second-best offense (75.4 points per game) and rebounding (40.2 rebounds per game) in EuroLeague Women at this juncture, should be considered one of the few clubs truly capable of winning this season’s championship. It’s certainly going to be a tall order for Villeneuve-d’Ascq this week, but even though the French club is currently tied with Bologna and Polkowice with a 6-5 record, if the playoffs started today, it wouldn’t qualify. Mununga and Diaby must match Magbegor and Sabally on the glass for this game to be competitive.

Basket Landes (3-8) vs. Perfumerias Avenida (5-6)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Pabellón Municipal Würzburg in Salamanca, Spain

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Alexis Peterson, Cierra Burdick, Sam Fuehring, Luisa Geiselsöder (Basket Landes); Sika Koné, Alexis Prince, Bernadett Határ, Arica Carter, Silvia Dominguez (Perfumerias Avenida)

Matchup details: Avenida’s up-and-down season continues, and the downs are coming at the worst possible time. The Spanish club has now lost three-straight games and will likely need to win out the rest of the way if it’s going to sneak into the playoffs. This week’s game against Landes is a good place to start, though Avenida will need a significantly better offensive effort than in Week 5, when it scored just 48 points on 29.3 percent shooting against its French rivals. Though Landes is more or less out of the playoff race, the club remains dangerous; four of its last five games have been decided by single-digits, and its roster remains remarkably competent from the free throw line (80.5 percent).

Thursday, January 18

ACS Sepsi-SIC (2-9) vs. DVTK HUN-Therm (8-3)

When: 12 p.m. ET

Where: DVTK Aréna in Miskolc, Hungary

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Borislava Hristova, Morgan Green, Courtney Range, Ellen Nystrom (ACS Sepsi-SIC); Kaila Charles, Darcee Garbin, Réka Lelik, Nina Aho (DVTK HUN-Therm)

Matchup details: DVTK played its worst game of the season last week against Lublin, mustering just 37 points and raising understandable questions about how the club’s offense will perform against stronger competition. That being said, it’s hard to see DVTK playing that poorly again, particularly against a Sepsi-SIC club that’s allowing 78.2 points per game and also ranks near the bottom of the competition in most offensive categories. Currently tied with Zaragoza with an 8-3 record and in second place in Group A, it’s only a matter of time before DVTK clinches a spot in the playoffs; another loss here, however, would probably raise doubts over how good the Hungarian club really is.