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.
Maya Moore scored 34 points (including a perfect 14-14 from the line) and grabbed 16 rebounds as Shanxi Xing Rui Flame defeated Liz Cambage and Zhejiang Far East 97-87 in the deciding Game 4 of the China Women's League Championship on February 5. Cambage scored 29 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for Zheijiang, who dropped the best-of-five-game series 3-1.
The China Women's League is not on the same timeline as their European counterparts, resulting in an early championship tilt in February, pitting WNBA stars Maya Moore and her Shanxi Xing Rui Flame squad against Liz Cambage and Zhejiang Far East. Another key difference from the traditional European model is that each Chinese squad is limited to one foreign player (ie. Moore on Shanxi and Cambage on Zhejiang).
Liz Cambage. FIBA/Asia.
The best-of-five Chinese Championship series featured two of the most talented WNBA stars competing against each other for their respective Chinese clubs. Moore, the Minnesota Lynx forward with a sterling championship pedigree (UConn, US Olympic Team and WNBA title with the Lynx in 2011), led Shanxi to a 96-92 victory in Game 1, scoring a game-high 53 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, dishing five assists and accounting for four steals.
Cambage, who starred for the Tulsa Shock in 2011 and combined with former WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm to lead the Australian Women to a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, including a stellar 19-point first-half performance against Moore and Team USA, got Zhejiang back into the series with a 45-point, 17-rebound effort in Game 2.
Moore then posted a spectacular 43-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist triple double in Shanxi's 112-98 Game 3 victory over Zhejiang, despite Cambage's monstrous 56-point, 16-rebound effort, before clinching the Chinese Championship with her Game 4 exploits.
Despite the presence of several WNBA stars in the Chinese League this season, including 2012 WNBA Finals MVPTamika Catchings, her Indiana Fever teammate Sasha Goodlett, San Antonio Silver Star Sophia Young, Seattle Storm teammates Camille Little and Yelena Leuchanka and Phoenix Mercury center Krystal Thomas, it's no coincidence that Moore and Cambage were the ones battling it out in the Finals. Moore averaged 38.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for Shanxi Xing Rui Flame, while Cambage averaged 35.4 points and 10.7 rebounds for Zhejiang Far East.
UPDATE: Tough news out of China is Sophia Young suffered an knee injury in China playoff action is slated for surgery. Click here for the latest.
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) its the home city of arguably the best and indisputably the most star-studded womens basketball team in Europe or Asia, UMMC Ekaterinburg.
Click for Interactive Map of WNBA Players Abroad.
Imagine Sue Bird leading a fast break with Candace Parker on one wing with Diana Taurasi on the other. Now, take in the fact that if you catch UMMC, or Ekat as they are often referred to, in one of their Russian League games or EuroLeague matchups, you dont have to imagine it, you can just buy a ticket and watch. Not surprisingly, Ekat is lighting it up on the court, sporting a 10-1 record in the EuroLeage and a 10-1 record in the Russian Premier League.
As of Jan. 31, Taurasi is averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds for UMMC in the EuroLeague, while Parker is averaging over 16.6 points and 9.4 boards and 3.0 assists per game in the competition. Bird, who underwent surgery after the epic, instant-classic Storm-Lynx 2012 WNBA playoff series, played 34 minutes in her first game back, dishing out 10 assists, grabbing eight boards and scoring five points in a 79-58 victory over Mondeville (France) in Russia.
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.
EUROLEAGUE GROUP C
Currently, Ekat is leading Group C with a 10-1 record, followed by Turkish Club Galatasary (9-2), Polish Club CCC Polkowice (6-6) and French club Mondeville (5-6). Taurasi, Parker and Bird are the leading WNBA stars on Ekat, with Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen, Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles, Atlanta Dream center Sancho Lyttle and Seattle Storm center Ann Wauters pacing the Galatasary roster. CCC Polkowice features 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks who is averaging an impressive 18.1 points and 7.8 assists per game in her first taste of EuroLeague action.
EUROLEAGUE GROUP A
EuroLeague Group A is currently led by Russian club Spartak Moscow (9-2), another star-studded club from the former Soviet Union with a decidedly American roster that features 2011 WNBA Finals MVP Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, San Antonio Silver Stars point guard Becky Hammon and Phoenix Mercury forward Candice Dupree. Spartak currently sits in fourth place in the Russian League with an 8-3 record. Group A is also home to 2012 WNBA MVP Tina Charles, who is driving Polish club Wisla Can-Pack Krakows playoff push with the help of Los Angeles Sparks swingman Alana Beard. Wisla Can-Pack currently sits fourth in a tight Group A.
EUROLEAGUE GROUP B
EuroLeague Group B is top heavy with Slovakian club Good Angels Kosice (9-2), Turkish club Fenerbahce (8-3), Italian club Schio (7-4) and another Russian team, Nadezhda (7-4) in the top four spots. Fener is paced by dynamic WNBA stars Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream and Cappie Pondexter of the New York Liberty. Schio boasts Connecticut Sun guard Danielle McCray and Los Angeles Sparks center Jantel Lavender, while Nadezhda gets key contributions from Phoenix Mercury forward DeWanna Bonner, 2012 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Renee Montgomery of the Connecticut Sun and 12-year WNBA veteran guard Kelly Miller.