Around the World: Five Things To Know

FIBA/Europe

WNBA players are scattered around the world during the offseason. Between Asia, Australia, and the EuroLeague, players from all 12 teams are competing in over a dozen countries around the world. Click here for an interactive map of the location of WNBA players abroad and see the most recent list below (subject to change, as not all players will be spending the entire winter abroad). Some will come back as others are just leaving, so stay tuned. [Player listing as of November 15, 2012].

Below we have compiled Five Things to Know for WNBA fans who would like to keep up with their favorite players competing abroad while the WNBA is in offseason mode.

1) FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

WNBA players love playing in Russia, as 18 current WNBAers are rostered on six different Russian teams (UMMC, Dynamo Moscow, Spartak, Nadezhda, Dynamo Kursk and Chekavata).

UMMC in Yekaterinburg is the class of the Russian League thus far this season, sporting a 6-0 domestic league record [as of Dec, 5, 2012], thanks in large part to a star-studded roster including WNBA MVP's Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks). Three-time WNBA Champion with the Detroit Shock Deanna Nolan and current Seattle Storm player Ewelina Kobryn are also key contributors for UMMC, while Sue Bird is on the squad's roster but has yet to get any game action as she's recuperating from post-WNBA season surgery.

Crystal Langhorne and Kristi Toliver (Dynamo Moscow), Seimone Augustus, Becky Hammon and Candice Dupree (Spartak), Renee Montgomery and DeWanna Bonner (Nadezhda) and Epiphanny Prince and Temeka Johnson (Dynamo Kursk) are some of the other top WNBA players to be plying their trade in the former Soviet Union during the offseason.

2) TURKISH DELIGHT

Turkey is currently the second most popular destination for WNBA players competing abroad, with 15 WNBAers rostered on nine different Turkish clubs.

Two legendary Istanbul-based sporting rivals -- Fenerbahce and Galatasary -- are also battling it out in the pursuit of top WNBA talent, with two of the WNBA's most dynamic talents -- Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream) and Cappie Pondexter (NY Liberty) -- playing for Fenerbahce, while two 2012 Olympic gold medalists -- Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) -- rostered with Galatasary. Another Turkish club, Mersin, apparently targeted championship pedigree in their WNBA recruitment, signing current WNBA Champion Indiana Fever teammates Shavonte Zellous and Erlana Larkins.

3) FAR EASTERN PROMISE

Four WNBA players competed on four different Chinese teams last year, but their has been significant growth of WNBA player exports in the Far East this year, with more than double the WNBA players (9) playing for double the amount of teams (9) in China for 2012-13. Additionally, four South Korean clubs have signed WNBA players: Woori Bank Hansea (Nakia Sanford), Shinhan Bank (Cathrine Kraayeveld), Samsung Life Bichumi (Amber Harris) and KB Stars (Lynetta Kizer).

WNBA representation in China has not only doubled in number, but there has been a signficant upgrade in star power. 2012 WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player and U.S. Olympic Team Co-Captain Tamika Catchings, fresh off her first WNBA championship with the Indiana Fever, is playing for Guangdong, while 2011 Rookie of the Year and fellow U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx is leading the way for the Shanxi Xing Rui Flames squad.

4) ONE LEAGUE, TWO LEAGUE, RED LEAGUE, BLUE LEAGUE

Fans of WNBA players competing abroad during the WNBA offseason may find themselves with a case of "league fatigue" when faced with all the different leagues featuring their favorite WNBA stars.

Here's a quick explanation.

Most WNBAers are playing for teams that compete in the domestic league of the country they are playing in. So, Parker and Taurasi are playing in the Russian League and McCoughtry and Pondexter are in the Turkish League. The European teams, however, are ALSO competing in a larger, and in many respects more competitive and more prestigious league called the EuroLeague, which pits the top domestic teams from individual countries (ie. UMMC in Russia and Fenerbahce in Turkey) in a European wide tournament.

Fans of college basketball can think of it like Brittney Griner and Baylor University compete in the Big 12 where they face conference foes in pursuit of a conference championship. Additionally, Griner and Baylor will appear in the NCAA tournament, where the top teams in each conference are matched up in tournament crowning the best of the best as the National Champion. The domestic European leagues are akin to the conferences, while the EuroLeague is similar to the NCAA Tournament, including a Final Four.

5) HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

While the vast majority of WNBA players competing abroad are doing so in a foreign land, there are a few players who are actually going home to play during the WNBA offseason.

Three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson has signed with the Canberra Capitols in her native Australia and while Jackson has not yet played for Canberra due to injury, they are happy to have her Down Under. Fellow Aussie Jenna O'Hea of the Los Angeles Sparks also headed home, where she is playing for Dandenong Rangers.

The Atlanta Dream's Erika de Souza and Washington Mystic Izzy Castro-Marques are also in familiar surroundings during the WNBA offseason, as de Souza is playing at Recife and Castro-Marques at Maranhao, both in their native Brazil.


Player Country Team

Atlanta
de Souza, ErikaBrazilRecife
Hayes, TiffanyTurkeyBesiktas, Istanbul
Henry, AneikaSpainRivas Ecopolis
Koehn, LaurieAustraliaLogan Thunder
Kraayeveld, CathrineKoreaShinhan Bank
Leuchanka, YelenaChinaLiaoning
Lyttle, SanchoTurkeyGalatasary
McCoughtry, AngelTurkeyFenerbahce
Price, ArmintieTurkeyBesiktas, Istanbul

Chicago
Fowles, SylviaTurkeyGalatasaray
Murphy, ShayRussiaDynmao Kursk
Prince, EpiphannyRussiaDynmao Kursk
Petrovic, SonjaRussiaSpartak
Swords, CarolynTurkeyCeyhan
Vandersloot, CourtneyCroatiaNovi Zagreb

Connecticut
Charles, TinaPolandWisla Can Pack
Griffin, KelseyAustraliaBendigo Spirit
Hightower, AllisonIsraelRamla
Jones, AsjhaTurkeyKayseri
McCray, DanielleItalySchio
Mims, MistieFranceLyon
Montgomery, ReneeRussiaNadezhda
Shegog, ChayHungaryUNI Seat Gyor

Indiana
Catchings, TamikaChinaGuandong
Christmas, KarimaIsraelRamat Hen
Davenport, JessicaTurkeyIstanbul University
Douglas, KatiePolandWisla Can Pack
Goodlett, SashaChinaHeliongiiang
January, BriannIsraelRamat Hasharon
Larkins, ErlanaTurkeyMersin
Zellous, ShavonteTurkeyMersin

Los Angeles
Anosike, NickyTurkeyKayseri
Lavender, JantelItalySchio
Milton-Jones, DeLishaTurkeyTarsus
Ogwumike, NnemkadiPolandCCC Polkowice
O'Hea, JennaAustraliaDandenong
Parker, CandaceRussiaUMMC
Sykes, AprilAustraliaDandenong
Toliver, KristiRussiaDynamo Moscow

Minnesota
Adair, JessicaAustraliaTownsville
Augustus, SeimoneRussiaSpartak
Brunson, RebekkahCzech RepublicUSK Praha
Harris, AmberKoreaSamsung Life Bichumi
Moore, MayaChinaShanxi Xing Rui Flame
Peters, DevereauxItalyLe Mura Lucca
Whalen, LindsayTurkeyGalatasary
Wright, MonicaAustraliaDandenong

New York
Carson, EssenceTurkeyIstanbul University
Mitchell, LeilaniCroatiaNovi Zagreb
Pierson, PlenetteSlovakiaKosice
Pondexter, CappieTurkeyFenerbahce
Powell, NicoleSpainPerfumerias Avenidas
Vaughn, KiaCzech RepublicUSK Praha

Phoenix
Bonner, DeWannaRussiaNadezhda
Dupree, CandiceRussiaSpartak
Houston, ChardeIsraelMaccabi Ashdod
Kizer, LynettaKoreaKB Stars
Sanford, NakiaKoreaWoori Bank Hansae
Simon, DymondSlovakiaPiestanske Cajky
Taurasi, DianaRussiaUMMC
Thomas, KrystalChinaJiangsu Phoenix

San Antonio
Adams, DanielleIsraelMaccabi Ashdod
Appel, JayneChinaHenan
Hammon, BeckyRussiaSpartak
Johnson, SheniseHungarySopron
Morrison, ZiomaraSpainRivas Ecopolis
Robinson, DanielleTurkeyTarsus
Young, SophiaChinaBeijing Great Wall

Seattle
Abrosimova, SvetlanaRussiaDynamo Moscow
Bird, SueRussiaUMMC
Clark, AlyshaIsraelRamat Hasharon
Jackson, LaurenAustraliaCanberra Capitols
Kobryn, EwelinaRussiaUMMC
Little, CamilleChinaShanghai Octopus
Stricklen, ShekinnaTurkeyAntakya
Wauters, AnnTurkeyGalatasary

Tulsa
Black, ChanteTurkeySamsun
Cambage, LizChinaZhejiang
Hodges, RoneekaSpainPerfumerias Avenidas
Johnson, GloryRussiaChekavata
Johnson, TemekaRussiaDynamo Kursk
Paris, CourtneyTurkeyBotas
Pedersen, KaylaTurkeyCeyhan

Washington
Castro Marques, IzianeBrazilMaranhao
Currie, MoniqueRomaniaTargoviste
Langhorne, CrystalRussiaDynamo Moscow
Novosel, NatalieRomaniaTargoviste
Snow, MichelleRussiaDynamo Kursk
Thomas, JasmineRussiaChekavata
More

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