Toliver Leads Dynamo Moscow to Euro Cup Title
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). Below we have compiled the latest news on the your favorite WNBA players around the globe.
Los Angeles Sparks guard Kristi Toliver scored 23 points for Dynamo Moscow in a 74-70 loss to Turkish club Kayseri Kaski Spor in the EuroCup Final on March 14, but in a strange twist in the competition, it was good enough for Toliver and fellow WNBAers Crystal Langhorne (Washington Mystics) and Svetlana Abrosimova (Seattle Storm) to emerge as EuroCup champions.
The way the EuroCup Championsip is decided is the two teams in the championship round play two games (or legs, in European sports parlance). In this case, Toliver and Dynamo Moscow defeated Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun) and Kayseri 66-61 in Game 1 (or the first leg), which accounts for a five-point Dynamo advantage and then, despite losing Game 2 (or the second leg), they still won the championship because the 74-70 loss was by a four-point margin, thus giving the Russian club a one-point overall edge over both legs.
Toliver poured in 39 points over the course of the two games to power Dynamo Moscow to the title, while Langhorne also had a big series, scoring 25 over both legs. Abrosimova chipped in with 12 points and seven rebounds in the two-game tilt. For Kayseri, Jones scored 27 points in the series and Toliver's Los Angeles Sparks teammate, Nicky Anosike, added nine points.
EUROPE: ALL ROADS LEAD TO EKATERINBURG
Historically, WNBA players plying their trade abroad hit many of the grandest cities of Europe, including Istanbul, Prague and Moscow. This year, however, all roads lead to Ekaterinburg, or Yekaterinburg in Russia, due to a pair of over-riding factors: 1) The prestigious EuroLeague Championship will be decided there, and 2) it�s the home city of arguably the best and indisputably the most star-studded women�s basketball team in Europe or Asia, UMMC Ekaterinburg.
The EuroLeague Playoff System is broken down into three seven-team groups (A, B and C) playing in a round-robin Round One, with the top four finishers in each group automatically qualifying for Round Two. Additionally, the two fifth-place finishers in Round One with the best records also advance to Round Two, which contains 14 teams. Those teams square off to qualify for the Final Eight Round, which then leads to the Championship Final and Third Place Game.
QUARTER-FINAL ROUND, (GREAT EIGHT)
The Quarter-Final Round, or the Great Eight, is slated to tip-off on March 18. The eight teams still competing for the most prestigious title in European Competition are UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia), Galatasary (Turkey), Good Angels Kosice (Slovakia) and CCC Polkowice (Poland) in Group A and Spartak Moscow (Russia), Fenerbahce (Turkey), Bourges Basket (France) and Famila Schio (Italy) in Group B. One common denominator in most teams remaining is the presence of top WNBA talent leading the way.
The Russian powerhouse leads Group A with Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) and Deanna Nolan (rights recently acquired by New York Liberty) on the UMMC roster. The Seattle Storm's Sue Bird, who recently announced plans to undergo knee surgery in a few weeks, is also a member of the club but will not be participating in the EuroLeague competition.
The current second-best team in Turkey, Galatasary boasts several WNBA stars including Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Lindsey Harding (Los Angeles Sparks), Sancho Lyttle (Atlanta Dream), Eshaya Murphy (Chicago Sky) and Ann Wauters (Seattle Storm). Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen recently parted ways with the team which she explained over Twitter:
"Thank you to my teammates and coaches for everything during my time with Galatasaray! Unfortunately because the terms of my contract were not met I felt it was in my best interest to not continue with the organization. Thank you to the fans of Galatasaray!! Your support of the team and players is amazing!"
Good Angels Kosice
While UMMC and Galatasary are no strangers to reaching the final stages of the top European competitions, Good Angels Kosice of Slovakia is a relative newcomer to the heights of continental hoops. Plennette Pierson (New York Liberty) and Natasha Lacy (Washington Mystics) are two established WNBA players who are key contributors for Good Angels.
The 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year Nneka Ogwumike continued her impressive introduction to the world of professional women's basketball when she left the Sparks and Los Angeles and traveled to Poland, where she has led CCC Polkowice to the Great Eight of the EuroLeague.
Another top club from Russia, Spartak Moscow heads Group B, featuring WNBA stars Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury).
Fenerbahce, currently the top club in Turkey, and heated rival with fellow Istanbul-based club Galatasary is led by Atlanta Dream gunner Angel McCoughtry and dynamic New York Liberty point guard Cappie Pondexter.
One of the top teams in France, Bourges Basket has an eclectic international mix of players with Celine Dumerc, the French point guard who impressed at the London 2012 Olympic games, Los Angeles Sparks guard Marissa Coleman and Chester, England native Johannah Leedham, a recent signee of the Connecticut Sun, dominating the roster.
Italian club Famila Schio rounds out Group B of the EuroLeague Great Eight with Los Angeles Sparks post-player Jantel Lavender leading the team in scoring and rebounding while the Connecticut Sun's Danielle McCray does the bulk of the ball-handling.
|de Souza, Erika||Brazil||Recife|
|Hayes, Tiffany||Turkey||Besiktas, Istanbul|
|Henry, Aneika||Spain||Rivas Ecopolis|
|Koehn, Laurie||Australia||Logan Thunder|
|Kraayeveld, Cathrine||Korea||Shinhan Bank|
|Price, Armintie||Turkey||Besiktas, Istanbul|
|Murphy, Shay||Russia||Dynmao Kursk|
|Prince, Epiphanny||Russia||Dynmao Kursk|
|Vandersloot, Courtney||Croatia||Novi Zagreb|
|Charles, Tina||Poland||Wisla Can Pack|
|Griffin, Kelsey||Australia||Bendigo Spirit|
|Shegog, Chay||Hungary||UNI Seat Gyor|
|Christmas, Karima||Israel||Ramat Hen|
|Davenport, Jessica||Turkey||Istanbul University|
|Douglas, Katie||Poland||Wisla Can Pack|
|January, Briann||Israel||Ramat Hasharon|
|Ogwumike, Nnemkadi||Poland||CCC Polkowice|
|Toliver, Kristi||Russia||Dynamo Moscow|
|Brunson, Rebekkah||Czech Republic||USK Praha|
|Harris, Amber||Korea||Samsung Life Bichumi|
|Moore, Maya||China||Shanxi Xing Rui Flame|
|Peters, Devereaux||Italy||Le Mura Lucca|
|Carson, Essence||Turkey||Istanbul University|
|Mitchell, Leilani||Croatia||Novi Zagreb|
|Powell, Nicole||Spain||Perfumerias Avenidas|
|Vaughn, Kia||Czech Republic||USK Praha|
|Houston, Charde||Israel||Maccabi Ashdod|
|Kizer, Lynetta||Korea||KB Stars|
|Sanford, Nakia||Korea||Woori Bank Hansae|
|Simon, Dymond||Slovakia||Piestanske Cajky|
|Thomas, Krystal||China||Jiangsu Phoenix|
|Adams, Danielle||Israel||Maccabi Ashdod|
|Morrison, Ziomara||Spain||Rivas Ecopolis|
|Young, Sophia||China||Beijing Great Wall|
|Abrosimova, Svetlana||Russia||Dynamo Moscow|
|Clark, Alysha||Israel||Ramat Hasharon|
|Jackson, Lauren||Australia||Canberra Capitols|
|Little, Camille||China||Shanghai Octopus|
|Black, Chante||Turkey||Samsun||Cambage, Liz||China||Zhejiang|
|Hodges, Roneeka||Spain||Perfumerias Avenidas|
|Johnson, Temeka||Russia||Dynamo Kursk|
|Castro Marques, Iziane||Brazil||Maranhao|
|Langhorne, Crystal||Russia||Dynamo Moscow|
|Snow, Michelle||Russia||Dynamo Kursk|