Obvious favorite here is Lattes Montpellier. French league runner-up team, would be a playoff team in EuroLeague Women had they gone through with playing there. The team has two important French NT members in Edwige Lawson-Wade and Emilie Gomis. Ana Lelas also has London Olympic experience with Croatia. Geraldine Robert has been on fire for Montpellier in France. Interesting young players to watch are Ana Cata-Chitiga and Lidija Turcinovic. In a couple of weeks Kristen Mann should be good to go after rehabbing a leg fracture for half a year.
Just by having two WNBA players, Vologda Chevakata should be able to get out of Group A. Those two are Jasmine Thomas, who has ELW experience, and Glory Johnson. Belorussian forward Katsiaryna Snytsina will be another player expected to lead the team. Interesting player to follow will be Anastasia Logunova who has yet to have a breakout season at the pros after a U20 European Championship MVP award.
CSM Satu Mare will be the favorites only against SISU Basketball in this group. From Romanian NT only guard Annemarie Parau will be on this team. The majority of scoring will come from Shanika Freeman, Khadijah Whittington and Dara Kovacevic. Freeman is the team’s leading rebounder in Romanian league. For some reason leading scorer Italee Lucas will not be used and instead of her Khadijah Whittington will play in ECW. Dara Kovacevic has been a double digit scorer in ECW for years.
SISU Basketball is evidence that there is women’s basketball in Denmark, although they haven’t had a women’s NT that participated in international competitions for more than a decade now. Team full of Danish players, should be led by the two American players they have – center Marie Malone and point guard Nathalie Reshard.
Despite a rough start to their French league campaign (they’re 1-4), Hainaut should be the favorite to advance to the next round. French Olympian Clemence Beikes (currently injured) will be joined by Belgian guard Romina Ciappina, Spanish guard Laura Garcia, Bulgarian forward Vera Perostyska as well as two Americans – center Stefanie Murphy and guard Ashley Houts.
Optimum TED Ankara will go as far as Makbule Amachree and Ana Dabovic takes them, which should be past the first round. While Ankara ha many young players in their teens and early twenties, none of them has excelled as youth player during any of the European youth championships.
Lotto Young Cats don’t have Emma Meesseman who led them last season in all statistical categories. Now the pressure to produce will be on the likes of Sofie Hendrickx, Julie Vanloo and Emmanuella Mayombo. Vanloo and Mayombo, still in their teens, are perceived to be the future of Belgian basketball alongside Meesseman.
Olimpia Grodno is kind of similar to Young Cats, having plenty of young and upcoming Belorussian talents. Maryia Filonchyk had a stellar European U20′s and she’ll be leading this team this season. Inside Grodno will rely on Ukrainian veteran Lyubov Alyoshkina and young Belorussian post Yuliya Audzeichuk who has been outrebounding Alyoshkina in the first games of Belorussian league. Ukrainian forward Tetiana Shchypakina should provide some scoring from outside alongside Filonchyk.