April 30, 2022
EuroLeague 2022 year in review: Part II
Closing the curtain on the 2022 EuroLeague season
If you’ve been following the EuroLeague coverage here at The Next, you’re aware of what we published last weekend: Part I of our season review! It’s time to move on to Part II, in which we will break down the performances of the remaining WNBA imports who played in the EuroLeague this winter.
This will close the curtain on the 2021-22 EuroLeague season as we get ready for the WNBA’s tip-off on Friday, May 6. That said, the 2022-23 Euroleague season is only a few months from now, and teams are already working on their rosters. Just ask French club Asvel, which added EuroLeague Final Four MVP and champion Gabby Williams (formerly of Hungarian side Sopron)! Rest assured we will keep you updated on everything related to overseas/European basketball throughout the offseason.
If you missed Part I last week, it’s best to start there. You can read about the first 19 EuroLeague players linked to WNBA franchises and play with the interactive dashboard of player stats from the 2022 EuroLeague season.
Without further ado, let’s address the remaining 19 EuroLeague players with WNBA ties, which include imports from the Los Angeles Sparks, Las Vegas Aces, Minnesota Lynx, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics. I have ordered the players by their 2021 WNBA franchise (or the franchise they were most recently linked to before that) and then by per-game efficiency, so the better EuroLeague players appear first for each WNBA team.
This section contains just a couple of sentences per player, but if you want a full breakdown of their individual seasons and game-by-game stats, you can use the interactive dashboard to dig deeper!
Win an autographed WNBA card!
During the month of November, new subscribers to The Next will be entered to win a signed trading card from six-time WNBA All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury.
In addition to the chance to win an autographed card, you will also be supporting the vital work of our staff. Our staff of writers, editors and photographers provide 24/7/365 women’s basketball coverage about the game we all love. Your subscription helps to ensure the pipeline of young, diverse media professionals to write, edit and photograph this great game, continues and grows.
Los Angeles Sparks
- Maria Vadeeva (16.2 efficiency): Vadeeva probably would have won Sixth Woman of the Year, had that award existed. She was phenomenal for UMMC in 2022, so much so that even though she only played 21.8 minutes per game, she still averaged more points (12.3 per game) than 67 other players and more rebounds (7.8 per game) than 88. She was the only player with an average efficiency above 16 while playing fewer than 24 minutes per game.
- Gabby Williams (13.9): Final Four MVP. That says it all. Williams did it on the strength of stout defense throughout the season (5.5 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 0.4 blocks per game) while never forgetting how to attack the basket (13.5 points per game) or dish out dimes (3.8 assists per game). That gold medal must feel good, and so should the Seattle Storm’s front office after trading for Williams this offseason.
- Amanda Zahui B. (9.2): It was a very bouncy season for Zahui B., who never found her mojo even though she was available for all of Fenerbahçe’s 18 games. She had her days (including a phenomenal early postseason run), but she was also forgettable through large periods of the regular season. She was very efficient for a second-unit player, though, averaging over seven points and four rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game.
Las Vegas Aces
- Riquna Williams (16.3): No player from the Aces appeared in more than eight or fewer than four EuroLeague games, and Williams was right in the middle with six games played. Galatasaray used Williams a lot and then some, giving her 34.2 minutes per game, and she delivered: 16.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 0.8 steals per game for the disappointing and group-eliminated Turkish side. But Williams entered a Dec. 9 game suffering some back problems, ended up playing 38 minutes and dropping 25 points, and never played another EuroLeague game this season.
- Kelsey Plum (10.8): Plum “betrayed” her last Turkish team, Fenerbahçe, by signing with local rival Galatasaray for the 2022 season. The stint was brief (four games), but Plum hit the ground running and put up 15.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.8 dimes and one steal per game. The only thing missing was the 3-point shooting, or better said, the accuracy. Plum hoisted 6.0 3-point attempts per game but only connected on 14.7% of them.
- Kiah Stokes (6.8): Stokes was definitely not the most impactful player in Fenerbahçe’s run to a silver medal. Stokes played just 14.4 minutes per game (the fewest among WNBA imports), missed time in the regular season and the postseason, and only had a couple of games in which she reached double figures in either points or rebounds.
- Kayla McBride (17.6): Walking buckets, raise your hands! McBride arrived in Europe as early as possible, grabbed Fenerbahçe’s bull by the horns, and hoisted over 12 field goal attempts per game (15th-most in the EuroLeague), yet still found a way to put up the absolute best true shooting percentage (63.9%) among players with at least 14 games played. McBride averaged 17.8 points per game and shot 47.3% from the field, 41.5% from beyond the arc and 95.0% from the charity stripe.
New York Liberty
- Natasha Howard (22.5): I gave serious thought to Howard’s case for MVP but ultimately chose Alyssa Thomas. That decision made sense, but make no mistake: Howard was an absolute wrecking crew for Dynamo Kursk. She was one of only two players to average a double-double for the season with 19.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. The rest of her statistics weren’t as impactful, knocking her down the MVP ladder, but she was a constant threat when on the court.
- Marine Fauthoux (11.9): The Liberty might be on to something with the young Frenchwoman Fauthoux. New York drafted her a year ago and let her develop on home soil, and Fauthoux took advantage of that by getting the Young Player of the Year award this season. Fauthoux contributed nearly 13 points, four assists and three rebounds in 25.2 minutes per game for Basket Landes in the 10 games she played.
- Brittney Griner (13.6): It was a short season for Griner, who was on and off the court pretty much on a weekly basis. She only appeared in five games for UMMC and played just 17.6 minutes per game. She was her dominant self, though, with 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, which made her the only player with eight or more points per game in fewer than 18 minutes of playing time.
- Shey Peddy (10.6): Peddy had a great postseason run with the Mercury, and she extended it in European play with five good games for Sopron. She averaged more than 10 points and two dimes and nearly four rebounds per game. She wasn’t the most important of players in Sopron’s run toward the title (she didn’t play past Week 9), but she positively impacted its midseason results.
- Sophie Cunningham (9.0): Cunningham is another Phoenix Mercury player who didn’t appear in many EuroLeague games. She logged four appearances for Basket Landes and got ample minutes (28.3 minutes per game), but, like Peddy, Cunningham didn’t play after Week 9. She was a net negative for her team, with just one solid performance: 23 points, seven rebounds and four dimes in Week 5, when she logged a season-high 33 minutes.
- Bria Hartley (5.9): Though buried down the deep Fenerbahçe bench, Hartley still played 19 or more minutes in all four of the Turkish side’s postseason games, including 27 and 25 in the two Final Four matches. Hartley was key in Fenerbahçe’s semifinals comeback against Praha with an efficiency of 17, but other than that, she didn’t accomplish a lot this season.
- Kennedy Burke (16.5): Burke probably flew more under the radar than any other import in the EuroLeague this season. She appeared in 17 games between the regular season and the postseason, and her 16.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game were matched only by 2021 EuroLeague MVP Alina Iagupova.
- Katie Lou Samuelson (15.8): The younger of the Samuelson sisters was phenomenal, although she missed the quarterfinals and arrived out of shape, getting limited minutes in Avenida’s semifinal loss. That’s a shame, but it doesn’t take away from the marvelous season Samuelson put together in Spain, averaging over 16 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal per game.
- Epiphanny Prince (9.2): Prince was balling for Dynamo Kursk at 34 years of age. She got an average of 27 minutes per game, appeared in all but one of Dynamo’s games, and was a menace on defense with 2.0 steals per game. That mark, together with her seven-plus points, two-plus rebounds and two-plus assists per game, made for a combined stat line that only nine other players were able to produce last season over at least 10 games.
- Karlie Samuelson (7.8): Samuelson was a low-impact player for Avenida even though she played a fair amount of minutes. But the Spaniards always found strength in numbers and a team-based approach to their game, so Samuelson didn’t need to put up staggering performances to reach the semifinals and end up getting a bronze medal. She finished four games scoring in double digits and another two games with three and four steals, both season highs for her.
- Megan Gustafson (21.1): Playing for a bad team (Arka Gdynia) obviously cut short Gustafson’s chances at a title run, but it also allowed her to become the one and only bright light of the squad. She put up a magnificent top-four 18.2 points per game, top-16 7.2 rebounds per game and top-five 1.2 blocks per game this season.
- Emma Meesseman (18.9): The only thing stopping Meesseman from getting the championship was the removal of Russian teams from the postseason. UMMC coasted to a perfect 14-0 regular season in which Meesseman played all games and averaged 27.6 minutes per game. After seven seasons — 2019 title season included — in Washington, Meesseman will play for the reigning champs Chicago Sky in 2022. She will arrive in the Windy City after averaging over 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal per game in the EuroLeague. Only Thomas reached (and bested) all of those marks this season.