Fenerbahce and Galatasaray are at the top of the standings with an 8-1 record. Kayseri, Ceyhan and Samsun all sit at 6-3 through nine games. The remaining seven teams in the league all have below-.500 records to this point. Fenerbahce is led by Angel McCoughtry and Penny Taylor. Galatasaray has a trio of Americans helping the team in Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince.
There is recent news from Besiktas, and it is two-fold – One, they’ve signed guard Candice Wiggins to a contract and she just arrived in Istanbul. Two, Courtney Vandersloot broke her nose against Fenerbahce and is getting it surgically repaired stateside over Christmas. According to reports, she’ll be back in the new year and will be playing with a mask.
The TKBL all-star ballot is full of American players. My grasp of the Turkish language is nonexistent, and my computer’s translation of the process is sketchy at best. However, it seems the fans will vote for a multitude of categories, half of which are Turkish players only. Along with the fan vote, coaches and media will select additional players to get to the 24 needed to field a red and white squad. Voting began on Dec. 9 and will run to Jan. 1 with the game taking place on Jan. 8.
The ballot for the foreign side is divided as such:
“Pivot guard”: Courtney Vandersloot, Epiphanny Prince, Erin Thorn, Jeanette Pohlen, Kelly Miller, Natasha Lacy and Shannon Bobbitt
“Scorer guard”: Anna DeForge, CoCo Miller, Diana Taurasi, Doneeka Hodges, Matee Ajavon, Roneeka Hodges and Shavonte Zellous
“Short forward”: Alba Torrens, Angel McCoughtry, Monica Wright, Penny Taylor, Quianna Chaney, Sheana Mosch, Tamera Young
“Long forward”: Ashley Walker, Latoya Pringle Sanders, Latoya Thomas, Laura Harper, Tangela Smith, Tiffany Jackson, Tina Charles
“Pivot”: Courtney Paris, Ivana Matovic, Jayne Appel, Jessica Moore, Chasity Melvin, Sylvia Fowles, Zane Tamane
The top five statistical leaders in the TKBL are –
Scoring: Diana Taurasi (24.1 ppg), Angel McCoughtry (21.9 ppg), CoCo Miller (20.9 ppg), Natasha Lacy (20.6 ppg) and Ashley Walker (20.4 ppg)
Rebounding: Courtney Paris (14.2 rpg), Tiffany Jackson (11.6 rpg), Erlana Larkins (10.8 rpg), Tina Charles (10.4 rpg) and Latoya Pringle Sanders (10.1 rpg)
Assists: Natasha Lacy (7.7 apg), Nilay Kartaltepe (5.9 apg), Courtney Vandersloot (5.2 apg), Birsen Vardar (5.0 apg) and Doneeka Hodges (5.0 apg)
Blocks: Latoya Pringle Sanders (2.1 bpg), Zane Tamane (1.3 bpg), Jayne Appel (1.2 bpg), Tangela Smith (1.1 bpg) and Ashley Walker (0.9 bpg)
Steals: Natasha Lacy (2.9 spg), Angel McCoughtry (2.9 spg), Ashley Walker (2.8 spg), Jillian Robbins (2.4 spg) and Tamera Young (2.2 spg)
Most of the women on these lists you know from the current WNBA rosters, but there are a few names that you might not recognize so easily.
Anna DeForge played off and on in the league from 2000-2009 for four clubs. She was the first player ever drafted out of the University of Nebraska and recently acquired a Montenegrin passport to play for the national team.
Alba Torrens is a Spanish basketballer who played on the 2008 Olympic team as a 19 year old. She was the MVP of the Spanish league in 2010-11, where her team won the EuroLeague championship and she was picked as MVP of the final four.
Quianna Chaney was drafted out of LSU along with Sylvia Fowles to play with the Chicago Sky in 2008. Her WNBA career has been rather shortlived however, as the 2008 campaign was her only full season in the league.
Sheana Mosch played her collegiate basketball at Duke where she was on two Final Four teams. Since her time in college she’s been playing overseas in Turkey, France and Russia and coaching at the high school and AAU level in North Carolina.
Latoya Thomas, the first overall pick of the 2003 WNBA draft by the Cleveland Rockers, has been out of the league since 2008. She’s played overseas with teams in Korea, Russia and Turkey and was a four-time All-American for Mississippi State.
Ivana Matovic is a 6-6 center of Serbian descent. She has played for Fenerbahce the last two seasons, but has also seen time on the Spartak roster during her career.
Maryland product, Laura Harper, was the 10th overall selection of the 2008 WNBA draft, where she played for the Sacramento Monarchs. Her No. 15 Terrapins jersey can be seen hanging in the rafters of the Comcast Center.
Zane Tamane is a Latvian basketball player who has been playing professionally and for her country since 2006. She played collegiately for Western Illinois.
Erlana Larkins was a high school All-American who went on to play her college basketball at North Carolina. She played on the USA women’s basketball team on multiple occasions, and won gold at the Pan Am Games in 2007. She spent time in a New York Liberty jersey in 2008 and 2009.
Jillian Robbins owns multiple school records for the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, where she had her jersey retired in her final game in 2007. After failing to be drafted into the WNBA, she began her successful career overseas where she’s played in France, Israel, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.
I’ll try my best to provide other updates from around the globe soon!