October 8, 2022
EuroLeague qualifiers explainer and news round-up
Natasha Howard heads to Turkey, and the date is set for a clash of champions
If you haven’t already, you better get ready! The EuroLeague is back next week with the qualifier games finally on the schedule for Tuesday, Oct. 11 through Wednesday, Oct. 19. These games will determine which teams will fill the final three spots in the two groups for regular-season EuroLeague play.
There will be two mini qualifiers tournaments of three teams apiece and one two-team play-off. Here’s how the outcomes of these events will shape the EuroLeague season:
- The winner of the Qualifiers Tournament A between Sepsi, Olympiacos and KKZ will become a member of the regular-season Group A (Fenerbahçe, Praha, Bourges, Valencia, KSC, Polkowice and Virtus Bologna).
- The winner of the Qualifiers Tournament B between DVTK, Ramla and Botas will become a member of the regular-season Group B (Sopron, Avenida, Famila Schio, Landes, CBK Mersin and Mechelen).
- The winner of the Qualifiers Play-Off games between Girona and ESBVA will also join Group B.
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Both qualifiers tournaments will pit every team against each other once for three total games in each event. The team with the best overall record in those games will advance to the regular season.
The play-off between Girona and ESVBA will be a home-and-away affair in which the team with the better record will advance.
In both cases, if two or more teams have the same win-loss record, tiebreakers will be decided based on the EuroLeague bylaws published by FIBA, which apply to both the women’s and men’s competitions:
- Higher points difference in the games between tied teams
- Higher number of points scored in the games between tied teams
- Higher points difference in all games
- Higher number of points scored in all games
These are the scheduled games for the two qualifiers tournaments:
- Oct. 11: Ramla vs. DVTK (Qf. B) and Olympiacos vs. Sepsi (Qf. A)
- Oct. 12: DVTK vs. Botas (Qf. B) and Sepsi vs. KKZ (Qf. A)
- Oct. 13: Ramla vs. Botas (Qf. B) and KKZ vs. Olympiacos (Qf. A)
The play-off between Girona and ESVBA will take place on the following days:
- Oct. 12: ESVBA vs. Girona (in France)
- Oct. 19: Girona vs. ESVBA (in Spain)
Given the order of the games, only two teams can seal their presence in the EuroLeague before the final day of the qualifiers tournaments: DVKT and Sepsi. If either or both of those teams win their first two matches, they will render the final game of their qualifiers tournament moot, as their opponents won’t have the chance to finish with a 2-0 record at that point.
Girona and ESVBA will need to play both of their games to decide the winner. However, in a home-and-away play-off, the first game could effectively decide the series if one team is able to win by a wide margin and make it very hard for the loser to make that up in the second game.
All games will be streamed and available to watch for free live and on-demand on the official YouTube channel of the EuroLeague Women.
Natasha Howard signs short-term deal with Fenerbahçe
This summer, Fenerbahçe assembled the most demolishing roster — at least on paper — in the history of overseas basketball.
The names alone are scary: Breanna Stewart, Satou Sabally, Kayla McBride, etc. Chicago Sky forward Emma Meesseman was also expected to head to Turkey, but she suffered a calf injury playing with the Belgian national team at the World Cup last month. Her recovery time is currently unknown.
It’s also been reported that Breanna Stewart, who signed with the Turkish side a few months ago, won’t arrive until January.
Fenerbahçe’s solution to filling the holes in its roster? Sign another renowned talent in Natasha Howard.
Last season, Howard was a marvelous performer for Dynamo Kursk. She was one of only two EuroLeague players to average a double-double for the season with 19.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. She was a constant threat on the court and a bona fide contender for MVP until the season was all said and done.
Howard arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to undergo medical tests before signing her contract. One day later, Fenerbahçe made the signing official on its website, making it known that the contract was “until the end of November.” Key word: November.
Fenerbahçe (nor Howard, for that matter) has not publicly spoken about why it signed Howard to a two-month deal instead a season-long contract. The most probable reason is the need to fill the open roster slots until Stewart and presumably Meesseman join the team later this season.
Last year, Fenerbahçe signed Amanda Zahui B. to a similar short-term deal that was ultimately extended for the remainder of the season. If Howard proves valuable for the Turkish side during the next few weeks, odds are she ends up inking an extension.
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SuperCup Women 2022 date and location announced
The annual game between the winner of the FIBA EuroCup Women and the champion of the EuroLeague Women has a date and location: It will go down on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. CET (2 p.m. EST) in Bourges, France.
The current EuroCup champion Bourges Basket will face first-time EuroLeague winner Sopron Basket. Both teams have already qualified for the 2022-23 EuroLeague regular season.
Sopron defeated Fenerbahçe on the latter’s home court, 60-55, to win the EuroLeague, and Bourges demolished Reyer Venezia by an astonishing 74-38 score in the EuroCup final. (Bourges also dominated the French league with 20 wins in 22 games to claim the domestic title.)
Although there will be familiar faces for WNBA followers on Sopron’s squad, the Hungarian side had to make some moves this summer. France international and reigning EuroLeague Final Four MVP Gabby Williams and veteran Briann January departed, but Sopron added Courtney Vandersloot, Ezi Magbegor, Brittney Sykes, Alice Kunek and Dragana Stankovic.
Bourges, a newcomer to the EuroLeague this season, features only one active WNBA player on its roster: Connecticut Sun guard Yvonne Anderson. The French side, though, further bolstered its roster with the additions of Kayla Alexander, Anete Steinberg and Ornella Bankole.
Written by Antonio Losada
International freelance writer covering the WNBA overseas. Bylines at places, touching different bases. Always open to discussion over @chapulana || Full portfolio
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