November 27, 2021
Kahleah Copper and other overperformers from EuroLeague Week 6
The EuroLeague's sixth day of action was full of otherworldly performances from teams and players
The EuroLeague returned on Wednesday after a two-week hiatus due to international competition. I am not against the latter games, of course, but I am also very much in favor of EL play, so it was nice to have it back. And it seems that the EuroLeague schedule-makers knew that we were hurting for Euro-ball, as they put all eight games on a single day.
And what a day it was. Even though international games took place in the past two weeks, most players seemed to have used the break to hone their game and come back stronger than ever. A quick look at this week’s results tells you all you need to know about that.
Week 6 overperformances galore
Last Wednesday was the strongest game day of the year, and it wasn’t even remotely close. Take a look at the results below:
|Dynamo Kursk 74
Familia Schio 93
|MBA Moscow 63
|Arka Gdynia 70
Sopron Basket 61
|TTT Riga 52
USK Praha 103
|Basket Landes 71
Uni Girona 80
USK Praha became the first team to break 100 points
USK Praha fell just one point short of doubling TTT Riga’s scoring in their Week 6 matchup, winning 103-52. That is already incredible, but even more impressive is the fact that Praha scored more than 100 points, something no team had done this season before Wednesday.
As a team, USK put up a season-high 150 efficiency and a +255 plus/minus, both of which led every team through six weeks. Five players dropped double-digit points and three of those had 20 or more, including both WNBA imports Alyssa Thomas and Brionna Jones. No player on the squad finished the game with an efficiency below 6 or a plus/minus lower than +16. And to put the cherry on top, Dragana Stankovic, Maria Conde and Thomas all had efficiency marks of 28.
Four teams scored 85+ points in the same week for the first time this season
This was the first game day that saw more than three teams score 85 or more points. And if we stretch things a bit, five teams scored 84-plus points, six of them reached at least 80 and seven finished with 79 or more.
Prior to Week 6, the largest number of teams scoring 85 points or more in the same week was three in Week 1. On top of that, four of the top six team efficiency marks were from matches happening this week, as Praha, Beretta Famila Schio, CB Avenida and UMMC Ekaterinburg all reached at least a 119 efficiency.
The two largest victories of the season
I don’t think you need me to tell you much more about Praha’s stunning 103 points. But what about limiting its opponent to 52 points? That 51-point difference was the largest of the season through Week 6; previously, no team had beaten an opponent by more than 40 points (Beretta Famila Schio won its Week 1 game 96-56).
But then CB Avenida took its home court to close the slate of games. The Spanish club had no mercy for KSC Szekszárd, dumping 96 points on the Hungarians while only conceding 54 points. That is now the second-largest margin of victory of the season (+42). Avenida was welcoming reigning WNBA champ and Finals MVP Kahleah Copper to the team, and the Chicago Sky player delivered like she had for months on American soil: 25 points in 25 minutes to go with five rebounds, three dimes, two steals and a team-leading 27 efficiency. Not bad.
UMMC Ekaterinburg and KSC Szekszárd stayed perfect (kind of)
With KSC Szekszárd’s loss on Wednesday, the Hungarian squad still has yet to win a game this season and is sitting on a “perfect” winless record more than one-third of the way through the season. KSC was never going to compete with the behemoths of the EuroLeague, but its 0-6 record is rather disappointing, all things considered. The club has landed WNBA import and Chicago Sky player Dana Evans, though, who had a five-point, two-rebound, three-assist, three-steal performance in her first overseas game while logging 28 minutes. We have to assume better days are ahead, right? Right?
On the opposite side of the spectrum, UMMC Ekaterinburg snatched another win, this time from fellow Russian side MBA Moscow. UMMC’s 6-0 record is more than impressive, and it includes victories against two of the only other three teams in Group A with a record at or above .500. A showdown against CB Avenida will take place next week, when both squads face each other to open the seventh game day of the year on Dec. 1 (9 a.m. ET).
Half-full, half-empty glass for WNBA imports debuting this week
Four players linked to WNBA franchises got to play their first EuroLeague minutes last Wednesday: Evans and Copper (both from the Chicago Sky), Briann January (Connecticut Sun) and Satou Sabally (Dallas Wings). When all was said and done, half of them went home boasting a win, while the other two took a loss.
Winning was always going to be the case for either Copper or Evans, as they faced each other with CB Avenida and KSC Szekszárd, respectively. Copper got the absolute best of Evans, dropping 25 points on just 11 shots.
As for January and Sabally, they had different endings to their first EL games of the season: January played 30 minutes but was far from fantastic (10 points, four assists, one rebound) in Sopron’s losing cause, while Sabally was limited to 10 minutes. Yet her three-point, two-assist, two-block, one-steal line was enough to help her Turkish side Fenerbahçe edge Arka Gdynia.
Golden nuggets from Week 6
This is a quick recap of what has happened in the last game day in terms of individual performances worth highlighting, unique stat lines, efficient games, putrid outings, forgettable outcomes and everything else my data-crunching abilities allowed me to come up with!
- I don’t think there is anything better to kick this section off than the word already mentioned above: overperformances all around the continent this week.
- Five players, including WNBA import Bernadett Hatar, reached efficiency marks of more than 30. That’s unheard of through five weeks of the season, with the most players reaching 30 efficiency prior to last Wednesday being four in Week 1.
- Eva Lisec’s 37 efficiency in the first week of the season still tops every other performance to date, but Sandrine Gruda‘s 36 efficiency this week was the second-highest through six weeks of play.
- Only four imports (Copper, Kennedy Burke, Thomas and Hatar) were able to reach an efficiency of 27 or higher to rank inside the top ten (actually 12, due to ties) this week.
- Eight players put up double-doubles this Wednesday, and half of them were WNBA imports: Hatar, Jonquel Jones, Elizabeth Williams and Megan Gustafson. All of them finished with at least 12 points, one assist and either one steal or one block.
- Speaking of Jones, can we give her the MVP of the competition already? Yes, we’ve yet to reach the halfway point of the season and Jones has only played four games for UMMC, but she’s coming off another 25-efficiency game (her fourth in a row) in which she dumped 17 points, 14 boards, a dime and a block on MBA Moscow. Jones made six of 10 field goal attempts and was perfect beyond the 3-point line (1-for-1) and from the charity stripe (4-for-4).
- “Shame” on Thomas (20 points, nine rebounds) and Gabby Williams (16 points, nine rebounds) for falling just short of a double-double.
- Natasha Howard suffered an even harsher fate, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes of play. She was perhaps the lone “underperformer” of the week given her level of play and MVP-caliber campaign to date.
- USK Praha’s Stankovic entered the two-week hiatus having swatted a league-leading four shots back in Week 5.. She came back and improved on that by blocking five shots against TTT Riga this week. Nothing could stop the Serbian center as she had a ridiculous 13-point, 10-rebound, five-block, four-steal and one-dime outing in just 23 (!) minutes of playing time. Incredible efficiency right there.
- Agnes Studer suffered a ton against CB Avenida in KSC’s loss to the Spanish side, but her six steals led the slate above the five thefts of Alina Iagupova, Burke and Ieva Pulvere.
- They say “shooters shoot,” and that’s precisely what Arike Ogunbowale did on Wednesday. She attempted a slate-leading 18 field goals, though she only made 39% of them for 23 points. I say “only” because Alina Iagupova finished with 16 attempts from the floor, scoring on 63% of those shots for 28 points. Iagupova made eight of 13 attempts from behind the arc.
- All imports except Bella Alarie (15) and Sabally (10) played at least 20 minutes in their Week 6 games, and their efficiencies ranged from 33 (Hatar) to 0 (Evans and Shey Peddy).
- Howard was rather disappointing, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and a single assist for a -24 plus/minus and an efficiency of 8. Not bad, but definitely not on par with her prior level of play, either. Howard is averaging 18 points, nine rebounds, almost two assists, a steal and a 20.3 efficiency on the season.
- Amanda Zahui B. rebounded from her last two outings (one point and one assist in six minutes in Week 4; four rebounds but no other contributions in Week 5) by playing a healthy 29 minutes and finishing with 15 points, eight boards and a couple of assists in Fenerbahçe’s Week 6 win.
- Barring any new signings, only two WNBA imports have yet to debut for their EuroLeague teams this season: Bria Hartley will join Fenerbahçe in January and Courtney Vandersloot could play for UMMC as soon as next week in the crucial game against CB Avenida.
- Of course, that excludes long-term-injured players Breanna Stewart and Michaela Onyenwere, who are both recovering from surgeries performed this fall.