Once Shavonte Zellous and Erlana Larkins return to Mersin, they should be the clear-cut favorites of Group C. If her injury is not serious Oksana Zakaluzhnaya will be a dominating force inside for Mersin. Outside of Chantelle Handy and Barbara Turner (Bahar Ozturk), Mersin also has a couple of interesting Turkish youngsters – 18 year old guard Merve Aydin and 20 year old power forward Emel Guler. Both have played significant roles on their youth NT’s.
Unless they totally screw up, and they’ve been known to do so, Tarbes is the second best team in Group C. Starting with the locals Paoline Salagnac, Joyce Cousseins and Charlotte Preiss and finishing with foreigners Angelica Robinson, Jovana Rad and Gabby Ocete, Tarbes have more talent than either Belfius or Noginsk. Odd observation: Tarbes have registered their assistant coach Lina Bradzekyte as a player in EuroCup Women, they have not done so in French league.
Belfius Namur has Julie Vojta, Djenebou Sissoko, Audrey Salvi and Laurence Van Maldaren, but that’s about it. No exceptional youth players and not much of a depth.
Spartak Noginsk might be sporting one of their worst teams in recent memory. Gone are Varvara Psareva, Tatyana Abrikosova and Snezana Aleksic and not much anyone of note has arrived. Montenegro NT backup center Natasa Popovic might be the most known one.
Nantes Reze Basket appears to be the most likely candidate for the first place in Group D. Former Bourges Basket forward Marielle Amant has been great pickup for Nantes and Nantes has been good for her as she gets to play starters minutes. Inside Amant will be joined by Viktoria Mircheva and Bernadette Ngoyisa. Point guard Caroline Aubert might be one of the more underrated guards in Europe. With Tatyana Troina being out for the season, Gunta Basko-Melnbarde will have to step in her shoes, providing leadership on the perimeter.
Dynamo-GUVD will be looking to return to playoffs after the team failed to advance last season. Natalia Myasoedova will get some help with the team signing Sidney Spencer and Yvonne Turner. Other key local Russian players like Ksenia Kolosovskaia, Tatiana Petrushina and Anastasiya Shilova have returned for the upcoming season.
TSV 1880 Wasserburg could upset the Russian squad. Mainly because they don’t have to travel from Siberia for all of the road games. German NT members Anne Breitreiner and Katharina Fikiel are joined by Finnish national Tiina Sten, as well as American born Emma Cannon and Margaret Dwyer (Dwyer has German passport).
BBC Sint-Katelijne-Waver will be led by Sara Leemans, the only Belgian NT player on the squad, and Hind Ben Abdelkader, 17 year old guard, one of the top guards in Europe in her age. Another interesting player to keep an eye on would be 16 year old center Kyara Linskens – member of the European U16 Championship All-Tournament team this summer.