What if I told you that the WNBA Rookie of the Year winner, WNBA Finals MVP, and eight former All-Stars are playing across the pond this week? It all takes place in the Euroleague as Week 12 matches begin, when four of the league’s five highest-ranked teams prepare to face off in a pair of star-studded battles. With all EuroLeague action available to watch live via EuroLeague Women’s YouTube channelSo, let’s get ready for action before showing this upcoming list.
CBK Mersin Yenisehir Bld (7-4) vs. Beretta Familia Schio (8-3)
when: 11 a.m. EST Tuesday, January 31st
Key players: (Mersin) Chelsea Gray, Tiffany Hayes, Diwana Bonner, Elizabeth Williams. (Skyw) Ryan Howard, Marina Mabry, Asto N’Dour Fall, Amanda Zahoi P.
These two clubs last faced each other in early December, a match in which Italian Scio won 76-72 against CBK Mersin Yenisehir, the first team in the Turkish League. It is worth noting that Jonquil Jones and Brian Jan, who played in that match, are no longer with Mersin; January has retired (bye and congrats on a great career!), and Jones is back in the States.
Much of Skye’s offense stems from Marina Mabry’s pick-and-roll and Ryan Howard’s exploits as an off-the-ball mover. Their tandem shooting prowess from anywhere on the field makes Schio a tough opponent for any team on any given day.
Over the last five matches:
- Mabrey averages 19.2 ppg with 3.8 assists while shooting 47.1% from nearly seven tackles per game. It has been on fire lately.
- Howard averages 16.2 ppg and 2.8 assists, and shoots 40.5% from depth on 7.4 of his three attempts per game. After a cold shooting start to her season with Schio, Howard has found her rhythm.
Mersin have won five of their last six European Championship matches since losing to Schio. A victory for Mersin would even lead to the clubs in the Euroleague standings in Group B, while what happens in the match between top seed Sopron (tied with Schio) and Avenida could create other waves at the higher level of the standings if Sopron loses.
Zeff VZ OSK Praha (8-3) vs Fenerbahce Al-Agouz Holding (9-2)
when: 1pm EST Tuesday, January 31st
Notable players: (Braha) Breonna Jones, Alyssa Thomas, Timmy Fabinelli, Maria Conde. Follow Favorite Brenna Stewart, Emma Messeman, Sato Sabali, Kayla McBride, Alina Iajubova, Keiah Stokes.
The clubs played each other for the first time on December 7, with Turkey’s Fenerbahçe winning 82-72. Natasha Howard came out big, with 16 points, six boards and a block. Howard is no longer with the team, having moved back to the US, but hey, Fenerbahçe is playing Brianna Stewart in the Four now!
Being promoted from an All-Star to an MVP candidate mid-season is ridiculous. In four games with the Turkish club, Stewart averaged 20 points per game, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.8 steals combined on effective play.
With the Dallas Wings potentially playing ahead of Tera McCown and Natasha Howard in fifth and fourth, respectively, Sato Sabale watched closely in this matchup. Playing against a WNBA staple pair in Thomas and Jones for the Czech club, it will be interesting to watch and rate Sabally in all three, as she will likely be involved with the Wings this coming season.
She’s been boiling from three of late, unsustainably, but her size (nearly five per game) has been at a career mark, and that trend will be increasingly important when W season comes around. Particularly given that Sabally didn’t play in Praha’s first game, it will be interesting to see how they choose to defend her and Fenerbahçe’s talent pool when both share a star-studded forecourt.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Alena Ayagubova. If you’ve never seen her play before or follow international basketball, you’re in for a treat.
Changing their pace is elite. She is incredibly dynamic as a ball screen creator and unlocks a great deal of scoring for this team with her charisma. Iagupova’s connection with McBride is a blast to watch as she has a knack for finding McBride as she weaves in and around screens to create openings.
With a win here, Fenerbahçe will likely seal their place as the top seed outside Group A in the Euroleague, but with the loss to Praha they will be in the standings to be released this week, opening up more possibilities in the Europa League. remaining weeks of play.
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WNBA reporter Mark Schindler writes a column for WNBA WNBA.com All season long and can be reached on Twitter at @tweet. The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the WNBA or its clubs.