The WNBA may be dormant, but there’s still plenty of professional women’s basketball happening around the world. In particular, FIBA’s EuroLeague Women competition is set to begin on Dec. 1, pitting the best teams on the continent against one other.
We’ll have more coverage of EuroLeague Women when the games begin. In the meantime, though, here’s everything you need to know for the upcoming event.
What is EuroLeague Women?
EuroLeague Women is an annual international basketball event held by FIBA. It features 16 of Europe’s top basketball teams from all over the continent, typically playing an extensive regular season spanning several months before competing for the EuroLeague Women Championship, which is held in a bracket format.
For 2020-21, the EuroLeague Women format has changed considerably due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 16 teams will play in four groups of four (as opposed to the normal two groups of eight) during a condensed regular season that will be played across just seven days — four in early December and three in mid-January. The playoff quarterfinals will be played in mid-March, with the semifinals (final four) and finals scheduled for mid-April.
Why should I follow EuroLeague Women?
An excellent question!
EuroLeague Women boasts perhaps the highest level of competition of any international women’s basketball event. The best teams in Europe compete, which includes a preseason qualifying round to determine the final two contending teams. While there is typically a handful of teams that are clear favorites to win the competition, the level of play during the event is generally considered to be tops in Europe.
Not only is EuroLeague Women great basketball, it’s also easily accessible. From a dedicated and aesthetically pleasing FIBA website containing the league rulebook and a news section to keep you up to date — to a YouTube channel that has free live streams of every EuroLeague Women game — the competition is easy to follow, even if you can’t watch the games live. Following your favorite WNBA players overseas can be a challenge, but for those competing in EuroLeague Women, video, stats and news are easily attainable.
Who competes in EuroLeague Women?
Here is the list of teams competing in the 2020-21 EuroLeague Women season, along with players WNBA fans will be familiar with (per the official FIBA website):
Dynamo Kursk (Russia) — Alex Bentley, Stephanie Mavunga, Arike Ogunbowale, Amanda Zahui B.
Perfumerias Avenida (Spain) — Tiffany Hayes, Katie Lou Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson, Emese Hof
Izmit Belediyespor (Turkey) — Clarissa dos Santos, Erica Wheeler
Nadezhda (Russia) — Monique Billings
Fenerbahçe (Turkey) — Kayla McBride, Satou Sabally, Kiah Stokes, Jasmine Thomas, Kia Vaughn, Cecilia Zandalasini
LDLC ASVEL Féminin (France) — Alysha Clark, Marine Johannès, Michelle Plouffe, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe
Arka Gdynia (Poland) — None
ZVVZ USK Praha (Czech Republic) — Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, María Conde
UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia) — Jonquel Jones, Emma Meesseman, Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, Breanna Stewart, Maria Vadeeva, Alba Torrens
TTT Riga (Latvia) — Megan Huff, Kitija Laksa, Jessica Thomas
Spar Girona (Spain) — Chelsea Gray, Adaora Elonu
Famila Schio (Italy) — Natalie Achonwa, Sandrine Gruda, Kim Mestdagh
Bourges Basket (France) — Marissa Coleman
Galatasaray (Turkey) — Courtney Williams, Mercedes Russell, Quanitra Hollingsworth
Basket Landes (France) — Celine Dumerc, Katherine Plouffe
Sopron Basket (Hungary) — Briann January, Glory Johnson, Megan Walker, Gabby Williams
Keep in mind that this is subject to change! It’s not unusual to see players come and go throughout the course of a EuroLeague Women season.
How do I watch EuroLeague Women?
All EuroLeague Women games will be streamed for free on FIBA’s YouTube channel. The games will be archived in case you miss them. FIBA also usually posts highlights of the games on the channel, as does the league’s Twitter account.