July 9, 2022
EuroLeague preseason updates: Meet the 2022-23 regular season teams and qualifier clubs
Six newcomers dot the list of 13 teams that have already qualified for the 2022-23 EuroLeague
It is that extraordinary time of the year. No, not summer, but the one in which FIBA and EuroLeague announce the field of teams that have qualified for the next edition of the EuroLeague and those that will fight for that right in qualifier tournaments.
Here are the 13 teams that have qualified for the 2022-23 EuroLeague regular season, with teams that participated last year in bold:
- Fenerbahçe (TUR)
- Tango Bourges Basket (FRA)
- Perfumerias Avenida (ESP)
- Sopron Basket (HUN)
- Beretta Famila Schio (ITA)
- ZVVZ USK Praha (CZE)
- BC Polkowice (POL)
- Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen (BEL)
- Virtus Segafredo Bologna (ITA)
- CBK Mersin Yenisehir Bld. (TUR)
- Basket Landes (FRA)
- Valencia BC (ESP)
- KSC Szekszard (HUN)
Six of the 13 teams will participate in the competition after having missed the 2021-22 campaign, including one team each from France, Poland, Belgium, Turkey, Italy and Spain. As is the case in competitions and sports around the world, no Russian teams will take part next season. UMMC Ekaterinburg, Dynamo Kursk and MBA Moscow will thus miss the 2022-23 EuroLeague after participating in last year’s regular season.
All of the teams that have already qualified for the regular season won their respective national leagues/cups (or fit any other requirements or criteria stated in their national federation rules) and therefore gained the right to participate in the most reputed overseas tournament. TTT Riga, which was originally on this list, announced on Friday that it wouldn’t be able to participate for financial reasons, so Virtus Bologna is going up a tier, making it to the regular season without having to qualify.
As FIBA wrote in its official press release, “A total of 22 clubs registered for the 2022-23 edition of the EuroLeague Women and 13 of those were granted a direct berth in the regular season.” Three of the other eight clubs (it would have been nine if TTT Riga had not withdrawn) will earn a place in the regular season through qualifier tournaments that will take place in the fall. Normally, these would be three three-team tournaments, but with Riga out, there will be two three-team tournaments and a home-and-away series for the remaining two teams.
These are the teams that will attempt to qualify for one of the three remaining regular-season spots, with teams that participated last year in bold:
- Botas Spor Kulubu (TUR)
- Villeneuve d’Ascq-LM (FRA)
- Spar Girona (ESP)
- DVTK Hun-Therm Miskolc (HUN)
- ACS Sepsi-SIC (ROU)
- Olympiakos SFP (GRE)
- Elizur Landco Ramla (ISR)
- KKZ Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
Spar Girona from Spain is the only team on this list that participated in the EuroLeague last season. Girona will face French side Villeneuve in its qualifier “because of their proximity,” per FIBA, as that’s the main factor that determines who faces who in the qualifier tournaments. That means that one of the three qualifiers is already set, with the other two featuring the remaining six teams on that list.
The opponents for the remaining two tournaments will be drawn on July 15, along with the preliminary regular-season groups that will have open slots until the completion of the qualifier tournaments. All three qualifier tournaments (including the two-team “tournament” between Girona and Villeneuve) will take place between Oct. 11 and Oct. 13, just ahead of the regular season and with most European leagues already started or about to do so.
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Here is a brief breakdown of the newcomers that have already qualified for next year’s regular season, including how they qualified and how their rosters look ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
Valencia Basket Club (SPA)
Spain will feature two teams in the next EuroLeague, with a chance of making that three if Spar Girona can qualify. Valencia will join the ever-present Perfumerias Avenida, and that’s absolutely deserved.
Though Valencia fell 0-2 to Avenida in the Spanish playoffs, it has built one of the best rosters for next season. Alba Torrens is its flashiest acquisition after the Spanish international spent the past few years playing in Russia for UMMC and winning four EuroLeague titles (adding those to her first two, one each with Avenida and Galatasaray).
Valencia finished second in the Spanish regular season (tied with Spar Girona) with a 25-5 record, only behind Avenida’s 28-2. On top of that, it reached the Spanish cup semifinals, where it lost to Girona. In the EuroCup, Valencia had the tough luck of facing Venezia Reyer in the quarterfinals after the Italians fell from the EuroLeague group stage into the second-tier competition. It nearly pulled off the upset but ultimately lost two games to one.
Tango Bourges Basket (FRA)
Although Basket Landes didn’t have the greatest of seasons last year, the club was good enough to win the French Cup over Bourges Basket. Things were very different in the French league, where Landes could only finish fourth and Bourges lifted the title after dominating its competition. Thus, Bourges got the straight entry into the 2022-23 EuroLeague.
Oh, and let’s not forget about a little something called winning the EuroCup last season. Yes, that’s right. Bourges struggled in France, but it is the reigning EuroCup champion after defeating Reyer Venezia by a ridiculous 74-38 result and limiting the Italian team to a measly nine points in the second half. Not a bad way to scare some opponents next year, is it?
Bourges ran away with the league, winning 20 games and losing just two. No other team won more than 16, though it must be said that up-and-coming Asvel Lyon made things difficult for Bourges. It will be interesting to see how things shake out next year with the four best teams in France (including Landes and Villeneuve) fighting for EuroLeague and EuroCup berths.
Bourges has worked the transfer market this spring and summer, acquiring Yvonne Anderson, Anete Steinberg, Ornella Bankole and Kayla Alexander in an effort to strengthen a roster that already conquered the second tier of European competition just a few months ago.
BC Polkowice (POL)
Poland is returning to the EuroLeague next season by way of BC Polkowice, a club based in the city and region of the same name located in the southwestern part of the country. Polkowice is replacing Arka Gdynia, as the former won the Polish league while the latter finished third with four fewer victories (14-6) than Polkowice (18-2).
It can’t be said that Polkowice had an easy path to the trophy, though, as its main competition arrived from Lublin, though BCP swept its rivals in the final series when the stakes were highest. A similar story developed in the Polish cup, as Polkowice defeated Lublin on its way to the final and then defeated Arka Gdynia in a winner-take-all game.
Polkowice took part in last season’s EuroCup but lost to Spanish side Valencia 0-2 in the Round of Eight. Polkowice has had many high-powered squads in the past, including players coming from the United States. In fact, its all-time roster includes Dragana Stankovic, Maria Conde, Danielle Robinson, Tiffany Hayes, Jasmine Thomas, Alana Beard and Nneka Ogwumike, to name a few.
Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen (BEL)
Mechelen is perhaps the least talented team heading into the 2023 EuroLeague. But there’s no arguing against its merits: The team finished second in the Belgium league regular season but was ultimately crowned champions after defeating No. 1 seed Braine 2-1 in the last series of the season.
Mechelen lost to Polkowice in the first elimination round of last year’s EuroCup. Its squad was comprised mostly of domestic players; its only non-Belgian players were an American (Ae’Rianna Harris), a Chilean (Ziomara Morrison) and a Serbian (Ivana Katanic). It didn’t quite work out in the grand scheme of things, though expectations could never be very high with such a roster in place and the most-used player (Laure Resimont) logging more than 37 minutes per game in a monster effort to carry her team. Mechelen will be one of the underdogs and feel-good teams of next season, at the very least.
CBK Mersin Yenisehir (TUR)
Last year was not one for Turkish basketball fans to be very happy about. Fenerbahçe lost the EuroLeague final to Sopron, and in the EuroCup, Galatasaray and Mersin Yenisehir lost in the semifinals to Venezia Reyer and Tango Bourges, respectively. It just wasn’t meant to be. That could change next season, though, with Fenerbahçe building one of the strongest rosters of all time and Yenisehir making it to the EuroLeague.
Yenisehir finished second in the last edition of the Turkish league, behind powerhouse Fenerbahçe and tied with Ormanspor — with a much better point differential, though. The team was no match for Fenerbahçe in the playoff final, falling 55-90, 56-95 and 71-97. The EuroLeague newcomers had fared much better in the Turkish Cup, though, defeating Fenerbahçe 71-58 in the final game at the end of March before losing the league a little over a month later.
The Turkish giant-killers boasted legitimate stars on their roster last year, with U.S. imports Shavonte Zellous, Yvonne Turner, Tiffany Hayes, Jasmine Thomas and DeWanna Bonner appearing in at least eight games each and logging at least 23 minutes per game.
Virtus Bologna (ITA)
After TTT Riga withdrew from the EuroLeague, FIBA moved Virtus Bologna straight into the regular season. That was good news for the Italians, who would otherwise have faced Girona and Villeneuve in a qualifier tournament.
Bologna, though it missed out on signing Breanna Stewart, is determined to make a statement next year on both national and continental ground. Last season, it finished third in the Italian Serie A league behind Famila Schio and Venezia Reyer. In the league’s postseason, Bologna lost 1-3 to Famila Schio, getting its lone win by a single point.
Although Bologna couldn’t advance from the EuroCup group stage into the playoffs, it also had a phenomenal run in the Italian cup. It reached the final before losing once more to Famila Schio by an 81-88 score. Virtus Bologna has real hopes of lifting the EuroLeague next season, having built a very tough roster that includes Iliana Rupert, Cecilia Zandalasini, Francesca Pasa, Kitija Laksa and new head coach Miguel Mendez (the former coach of UMMC Ekaterinburg).