Fantasy Basketball

FIBA: Polkowice, Bourges to battle for final Group A postseason seed


There are just two weeks remaining in the 2022-23 EuroLeague Women group play phase, but there’s still much to be decided before the postseason begins. Three clubs — Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (Turkey), ZVVZ USK Praha (Czech Republic) and Valencia Basket Club (Spain) — have all clinched spots in the competition’s playoffs, with five spots still up for grabs over the next two weeks.

In a way, the current playoff picture is a good representation of this season’s balance of power. Fenerbahçe, Praha and Valencia are all competing in Group A, leaving BC Polkowice (Poland) and Tango Bourges Basket (France) to fight over the group’s final playoff seed. Meanwhile, nothing is set in stone yet over in Group B; six of the group’s eight clubs have records of .500 or better, with Sopron Basket (Hungary), CBK Mersin Yenişehir Bld (Turkey) and Beretta Famila Schio (Italy) all tied with 8-4 records.

It makes sense, then, that this week’s matchup between Polkowice and Bourges is tabbed as FIBA’s EuroLeague Women Game of the Week. Polkowice can secure the fourth and final playoff berth in Group A with a win, but the route is a little more complicated for Bourges, which would need to defeat Polkowice by two or more points and rely on help from Praha and Valencia in their respective games.

Things are considerably more open in Group B. There are two matchups this week that bear heavy playoff implications — DVTK HUN-Therm (Hungary) vs. Perfumerias Avenida (Spain) and Spar Girona (Spain) vs. Mersin — while Basket Landes (France) and Kangoeroes Mechelen (Belgium) have the opportunity to play spoiler despite themselves being eliminated from playoff contention long ago.

As always, you can catch all the action live and for free on FIBA’s EuroLeague Women YouTube channel. Here’s a rundown of each of this week’s matchups, including which players to keep an eye on and how each team’s playoff chances look, according to FIBA’s website.


Wednesday, February 22

Olympiacós SFP (1-11) vs. ZVVZ USK Praha (8-4)

When: 10 a.m. ET

Where: Peace and Friendship Stadium, Piraeus

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Megan Gustafson, Kylee Shook (Olympiacós SFP); Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Maria Conde, Temi Fagbenle, Valériane Vukosavljević (ZVVZ USK Praha)

Matchup details: There’s not much to write home about here. Just about the only thing Olympiacós will be playing for is to not finish group play with the competition’s worst record, but if this game goes anything like Praha’s 32-point victory in Week 6, that might be a tall order. The Greek club’s struggles have unfortunately overshadowed a tremendous season-long effort from Gustafson, who continues to lead the competition in scoring (23.2 points per game) by a healthy margin. Thomas, meanwhile, is one of the few players in EuroLeague Women who has put up comparable individual statistics, averaging 17 points, 10.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists and 2.7 steals for high-octane Praha.

Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding (10-2) vs. Valencia Basket Club (8-4)

When: 11 a.m. ET

Where: Metro Energy Sports Hall, Istanbul

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Breanna Stewart, Satou Sabally, Emma Meesseman, Kayla McBride, Alina Iagupova, Courtney Vandersloot, Kiah Stokes (Fenerbahçe Alagöz Holding); Lauren Cox, Marie Gülich, Raquel Carrera, Leticia Romero, Alba Torrens, Cierra Burdick (Valencia Basket Club)

Matchup details: If neither Fenerbahçe nor Valencia had already clinched playoff spots, this game would be a lot more enticing, but any opportunity to watch perhaps the strongest collection of international talent should still be taken. Fenerbahçe has gotten stronger and stronger as the season has gone on, adding Stewart and Sabally back in January and Vandersloot weeks later. The Turkish club is the clear favorite to come away with this season’s EuroLeague Women championship, so we’ll see if Valencia can keep things close like it did back in Week 6, when up-and-coming star Carrera led her team in both scoring and rebounding in a close loss. Valencia will also gain the services of veteran forward Cierra Burdick, whose signing was announced by the club in early February.

DVTK HUN-Therm (6-6) vs. Perfumerias Avenida (7-5)

When: 12:10 pm. ET

Where: DVTK Aréna, Miskolc

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Arella Guirantes, Cheridene Green (DVTK HUN-Therm); Bridget Carleton, Michaela Onyenwere, Maite Cazorla, Alexis Prince (Perfumerias Avenida)

Matchup details: DVTK has been defying expectations for much of the season, and a playoff appearance out of Group B would further add to the young club’s Cinderella story. Guirantes is currently leading the team in just about everything (15.4 points, eight rebounds and 5.4 assists per game), though she and the rest of DVTK will need to play significantly better against Avenida than they did in Week 6, which was a 94-52 blowout in favor of the Spanish club. Since then, Avenida has fallen back to the middle of the pack in Group B, though it did recently add another perimeter scorer in Prince, who is expected to make her EuroLeague Women debut for the club this week. According to FIBA.com, neither DVTK nor Avenida would be able to clinch a playoff appearance this week, but a win here would obviously help either club’s chances of doing so next week, and they’ll both be rooting against Girona later in the day.

BC Polkowice (7-5) vs. Tango Bourges Basket (7-5)

When: 1 p.m. ET

Where: City Sports Hall, Polkowice

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Stephanie Mavunga, Erica Wheeler, Artemis Spanou, Weronika Gajda (BC Polkowice); Yvonne Anderson, Kayla Alexander (Tango Bourges Basket)

Matchup details: Not only is this game about as close to do or die as possible for both clubs, but the teams involved are also very evenly-matched. Back in Week 6, Polkowice and Bourges treated fans to an absolute thriller, with Spanou hitting a game-winning free throw in the waning seconds to clinch a 63-62 win for Polkowice. Polkowice has gone 2-5 since then, however, opening the door for Bourges to sneak into the playoffs after hanging around the middle of the pack in Group A for most of the season. The French club will need to continue forcing turnovers at a high rate (9.8 steals per game) and hold down competition MVP candidate Mavunga (15.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game) well enough for Anderson and her tried-and-true playmaking to lead the team to another plucky victory.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna (4-8) vs. Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd (3-9)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Segafredo Arena, Bologna

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Victoria Vivians, Ruthy Hebard, Cyesha Goree, Sydney Wallace (Atomerőmű KSC Szekszárd); Cheyenne Parker, Iliana Rupert, Cecilia Zandalasini, Kitija Laksa (Virtus Segafredo Bologna)

Matchup details: Of the eight EuroLeague Women games being played this week, this is the only one that has no playoff implications whatsoever; both Bologna and Szekszárd have already been eliminated from postseason contention. That doesn’t mean it won’t be an entertaining game, though, as Bologna in particular has had a knack for playing in high-scoring contests for much of this season, and neither club is particularly strong defensively. Szekszárd defeated Bologna 73-64 back in Week 6 in spite of 23 points from Laksa.

Spar Girona (7-5) vs. CBK Mersin Yenişehir Bld (8-4)

When: 2:45 p.m. ET

Where: Pavelló Fontajau, Girona

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Brittney Sykes, Rebekah Gardner, Marianna Tolo, Shay Murphy (Spar Girona); Chelsea Gray, DeWanna Bonner, Tiffany Hayes, Elizabeth Williams (CBK Mersin Yenişehir Bld)

Matchup details: Girona will be looking to avenge a 64-50 loss to Mersin back in Week 6, but it may be an uphill battle for the Spanish club, which has struggled to score for most of the season (65.7 points per game). Mersin, meanwhile, has won three-straight, thanks in large part to Gray, who ranks second in EuroLeague Women in points (17.6) and first in assists (7.1) per game. If she leads Mersin to another victory over Girona this week, it would clinch a playoff appearance for the star-studded Turkish club, while Girona would still not yet qualify for the playoffs even if it was to pull off an upset.

Thursday, February 23

Sopron Basket (8-4) vs. Basket Landes (2-10)

When: 12:30 p.m. ET

Where: Novomatic Arèna, Sopron

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Ezi Magbegor, Yvonne Turner, Jelena Brooks, Olivia Epoupa (Sopron Basket); Marine Fauthoux, Regan Magarity, Celine Dumerc (Basket Landes)

Matchup details: Sopron has lost quite a bit of firepower since winning last season’s EuroLeague Women championship, but a reliance on defense (62.1 points allowed per game) and ball security has not only kept the defending champions afloat, but thriving in Group B. In terms of cumulative point differential, this game will be a mismatch; Sopron leads Group B at +70, while Landes brings up the rear at -115. Landes could potentially play spoiler here and knock Sopron down a spot in the standings, but at this point it seems unlikely that Magbegor and company will fall out of the playoff picture completely; they’ll clinch a spot in the postseason with their next win.

Kangoeroes Mechelen (2-10) vs. Beretta Famila Schio (8-4)

When: 2:30 p.m. ET

Where: Sporthal De Schalk, Willebroek

How to watch: FIBA YouTube live stream

Notable players: Morgan Bertsch, Lisa Berkani, Ziomara Morrison (Kangoeroes Mechelen); Rhyne Howard, Marina Mabrey, Amanda Zahui B., Astou Ndour-Fall, Kim Mestdagh (Beretta Famila Schio)

Matchup details: Schio had an opportunity to take the lead in Group B in the last week of group play, but ultimately came up short against Mersin, setting up today’s messy three-way tie in the group standings. Mechelen, despite its record, is by no means an easy opponent, either; the young Belgian club played Schio tough back in Week 6, falling 74-70. Mechelen’s defense, however, is suspect, allowing a group-high 77.6 points per game, and all Schio needs to do is win in order to qualify for the playoffs. The Italian club is in a good position to do so.



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