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WNBA Overseas Update: Moore Debuts in Russia, Johnson Excelling in China

For many players, basketball season doesn’t end once the final buzzer sounds in the WNBA. Here are some of the top recent performers during international play (click here to see the full list of WNBA players overseas).

Maya Moore – Minnesota Lynx

One of the WNBA’s best players made her debut in the Russian league this week with UMMC Ekaterinburg. With the WNBA season approaching, Moore joins the Russian team in the latter stage of its season to get back into game-playing shape. She immediately made an impact in her first two appearances. Moore made her debut on January 20 and compiled 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals, helping UMMC to a 74-58 win. Later in the week, Moore filled the stat sheet again with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals en route to a 68-55 win in EuroLeague action. Not that it should come as a surprise to see Moore making a positive impact so quickly, but Lynx fans should be excited that the former MVP is already being productive.

Jantel Lavender – Los Angeles Sparks

Lavender finds herself on the overseas report for the second time following a productive two weeks of play with Yakin Dogu in the Turkish league. Currently, Yakin Dogu stands alone in first place in the league at 14-1, and Lavender’s season averages (14.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.0 apg) are a huge contributing factor to that. In Yakin Dogu’s past two games in EuroLeague competition, Lavender has averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. She highlighted the month of January with a showing of 23 points, 11 rebounds and four assists against Fenerbahce, helping to secure a 76-65 win. Lavender, who will be entering her eighth season in the WNBA, is putting up numbers that should excite Sparks fans knowing they still have a lot to expect from the center.

Glory Johnson – Dallas Wings

Johnson has enjoyed a very productive season with Guangdong in the Chinese league, and is leading the charge for her team in the playoffs. In the last two games of the regular season, Johnson compiled averages of 18.0 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. In Guangdong’s opening game of its playoff series against Xinjiang on Wednesday, Johnson produced 21 points and eight rebounds despite the loss. Games 2 and 3 are set to take place over the weekend, so Johnson will look to step it up even more to secure a win and continue her excellent season.

Emma Meesseman– Washington Mystics

Meesseman, who has played for the entire season with UMMC in Russia, welcomed Maya Moore to the squad this past week. Bringing in one of the best players in the WNBA could have forced Meesseman’s numbers to take a dip, but she didn’t break stride at all. On the season, the Belgian forward has averaged 11.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. In UMMC’s past two games, she raised the level of her play. She compiled averages of 15.5 points, five rebounds, 4.5 assists and three steals per game en route to a pair of wins. Throughout her five years in the WNBA, Meesseman has been a stat-stuffing machine, so it’s no surprise that she has been doing it again in Russia.

Erica Wheeler – Indiana Fever

Wheeler, another WNBA player making the overseas report for the second time, has continued her great season with Besiktas in the Turkish league. Through an up-and-down season (8-7), Wheeler has remained one of the consistent bright spots, leading the team in points per game (17.6) and assists per game (6.2). In Besiktas’ latest game, she produced another impressive stat line, pouring in 21 points, five assists and two rebounds. Wheeler’s stats have improved in each of her three years in the WNBA, and considering the campaign she is having overseas, expect another level up for the guard in her fourth season, which is right around the corner.