October 1, 2022
2022-23 EuroLeague FAQ – Part 2
Answering more questions about the EuroLeague before it tips off this month
The USA just defeated China to claim its 11th FIBA World Cup. Next up on the hoops calendar is the second-best league in women’s basketball: the EuroLeague. Although its regular season won’t tip off until Oct. 26, a few qualifying games will be played on Oct. 11.
Last week, we answered some frequently asked questions about the competition, and this week we’re back for Part 2. Let’s go through some questions you might still have and share a list of WNBA players who will play in the EuroLeague this season.
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Why do WNBA players go overseas to play basketball year-round?
Whereas the WNBA features 12 franchises and a salary cap to pay players, all of them capped at a maximum amount of money, European clubs don’t have that limitation. It’s pretty much the Major League Baseball (MLB) model there, in which different teams have different budgets depending on their owners, their sponsorship deals, etc. In other words, Europe is a gold mine of teams that can afford to pay the best players properly, making it a no-brainer for some WNBA players to cross the ocean to earn more than their WNBA salaries for just a few months of playing.
Isn’t this approach risky for players?
Yes. Injuries happen. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic should hopefully be less disruptive, but there could also be surges of the virus that impact players’ health.
In some cases, this is a financial and career necessity for WNBA players. Those who are not making maximum salaries may need other sources of income or want to increase their earnings during their athletic prime. Also, the WNBA offers so few roster spots that most players don’t have much job security and need to show European (and other continents’) teams how good they are, in case their WNBA careers come to a halt earlier than expected.
On top of everything, players want to compete at the highest level, so it makes sense to move from the best league in the world in the summer to the second-best league in the colder months. At the end of the day, so many superstars are playing overseas, and that’s become widely accepted.
Is talent distributed evenly among EuroLeague participants?
Not really. Remember that there are differences between the American and the European business models, namely that there is no salary cap in place in Europe. This swings things wildly when it comes to building rosters.
As an example, the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg won the trophy nearly annually for a good bunch of years by putting together a massively talented and well-paid roster. It won three straight EuroLeagues before it was removed from the competition last year due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s more than probable that UMMC would have snatched the 2020 title, too, had the EuroLeague not been canceled due to the pandemic.
If you’re wondering why UMMC was so fantastic, the following players logged at least 15 minutes in the 2021 championship game against Avenida: Alba Torrens, Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, Breanna Stewart, Emma Meesseman, Jonquel Jones and Brittney Griner.
Will UMMC Ekaterinburg be back in the EuroLeague this season?
No. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, all Russian teams got removed from FIBA competitions. That timing meant that UMMC (along with fellow Russians Dynamo Kursk and MBA Moscow) didn’t get to play in the postseason.
UMMC, Dynamo Kursk, MBA Moscow and all other Russian teams have been excluded from FIBA competitions this season as well. They won’t participate in the EuroLeague or any other league under the FIBA banner, and for the most part, the non-Russian players (including WNBA superstars) linked to them have ended their deals with those organizations.
With UMMC gone, are there any other WNBA-star-laden teams in Europe now?
You bet! Not every EuroLeague team can afford to build a Monstars-like squad, but pretty much every team is able to have least one or two active or former WNBA players every year.
One team has to be highlighted above everyone else: the Turkish side Fenerbahçe. The club from Istanbul is determined to lift the EuroLeague trophy after falling last season in the Final Four. I wrote a full column about the reasons Fenerbahçe is now a superteam and title favorite, but I can sum it up in the starting five it’ll boast this season: Olivia Epoupa, Kayla McBride, Alina Iagupova, Breanna Stewart and Emma Meesseman.
How can I watch and follow the EuroLeague?
Awesome! You couldn’t have picked a better time, as the competition is tipping off in less than two weeks (Oct. 11) with the qualifiers!
FIBA shows games on YouTube for free, and some of them are archived for later/on-demand viewing (and highlights are uploaded for all games). The matches take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with tip-offs ranging mostly from 11 a.m. EST to 4 p.m. EST. You can find the full schedule here.
At The Next, we are going to cover this year’s EuroLeague in full for the second straight season. We will bring you features, storylines and roundups of all of the action on a weekly basis.
Get ready, because we’re just getting started!
Current WNBA players in the EuroLeague for 2022-23
This table shows the players who appeared in at least one WNBA game in 2022 and are playing in the EuroLeague this offseason.
|EuroLeague Team (Country)||Player||WNBA Team|
|Bourges (France)||Yvonne Anderson||CON|
|CBK Mersin (Turkey)||Tiffany Hayes||ATL|
|CBK Mersin (Turkey)||Jonquel Jones||CON|
|CBK Mersin (Turkey)||DeWanna Bonner||CON|
|CBK Mersin (Turkey)||Chelsea Gray||LVA|
|CBK Mersin (Turkey)||Briann January||SEA|
|Elizur Ramla (Israel)*||Shakira Austin||WAS|
|ESBVA (France)*||Kennedy Burke||WAS|
|Famila Schio (Italy)||Rhyne Howard||ATL|
|Famila Schio (Italy)||Marina Mabrey||DAL|
|Fenerbahçe (Turkey)||Emma Meesseman||CHI|
|Fenerbahçe (Turkey)||Satou Sabally||DAL|
|Fenerbahçe (Turkey)||Kiah Stokes||LVA|
|Fenerbahçe (Turkey)||Kayla McBride||MIN|
|Fenerbahçe (Turkey)||Breanna Stewart||SEA|
|Fenerbahçe (Turkey)||Natasha Howard||NYL|
|KSC Szekszard (Hungary)||Ruthy Hebard||CHI|
|KSC Szekszard (Hungary)||Victoria Vivians||IND|
|Olympiacos (Greece)||Megan Gustafson||PHO|
|Perfumerias Avenida (Spain)||Moriah Jefferson||MIN|
|Polkowice (Poland)||Erica Wheeler||ATL|
|Polkowice (Poland)||Yvonne Turner||PHO|
|Sopron (Hungary)||Courtney Vandersloot||CHI|
|Sopron (Hungary)||Brittney Sykes||LAS|
|Sopron (Hungary)||Ezi Magbegor||SEA|
|Spar Girona (Spain)*||Rebekah Gardner||CHI|
|USK Praha (Czech Republic)||Brionna Jones||CON|
|USK Praha (Czech Republic)||Alyssa Thomas||CON|
|Valencia (Spain)||Rebecca Allen||NYL|
|Virtus Bologna (Italy)||Cheyenne Parker||ATL|
|Virtus Bologna (Italy)||Iliana Rupert||LVA|
Former WNBA players in the EuroLeague for 2022-23
This table includes players who did not play a WNBA game in 2022 but have previously played in the league.
|EuroLeague Team (Country)||Player||Most Recent WNBA Team (Season)|
|Basket Landes (France)||Celine Dumerc||ATL (2014)|
|Basket Landes (France)||Kristen Mann||MIN (2010)|
|Bourges (France)||Kayla Alexander||MIN (2020)|
|CBK Mersin (Turkey)||Quanitra Hollingsworth||SEA (2015)|
|Elizur Ramla (Israel)*||Bernice Mosby||WAS (2009)|
|Famila Schio (Italy)||Kim Mestdagh||WAS (2019)|
|Famila Schio (Italy)||Astou Ndour||CHI (2021)|
|Famila Schio (Italy)||Amanda Zahui B.||LAS (2021)|
|Olympiacos (Greece)||Kylee Shook||NYL (2021)|
|Perfumerias Avenida (Spain)||Erica McCall||WAS (2021)|
|Polkowice (Poland)||Stephanie Mavunga||CHI (2020)|
|Sopron (Hungary)||Bernadett Hatar||IND (2021)|
|USK Praha (Czech Republic)||Valeriane Ayayi||SAS (2015)|
|Valencia (Spain)||Lauren Cox||LAS (2021)|
|Valencia (Spain)||Marie Gulich||LAS (2020)|
|Virtus Bologna (Italy)||Cecilia Zandalasini||MIN (2018)|