2020-21 EuroLeague Women: A primer through the WNBA lens

Lyon ASVEL Feminin v Basket Lattes Montpellier - Euroleague Women
Alysha Clark (No. 77) is one of dozens of WNBA players who will be competing in EuroLeague Women this winter. Clark will suit up for French basketball club LDLC ASVEL Féminin. | Photo by Romain Biard/Icon Sport via Getty Images

The biggest annual international women’s basketball event in Europe is right around the corner. Here’s everything you need to know about EuroLeague Women — including which WNBA players are participating — heading into the 2020-21 season.

The WNBA may be dormant, but there’s still plenty of professional women’s basketball happening around the world. In particular, FIBA’s EuroLeague Women competition is set to begin on Dec. 1, pitting the best teams on the continent against one other.

We’ll have more coverage of EuroLeague Women when the games begin. In the meantime, though, here’s everything you need to know for the upcoming event.

What is EuroLeague Women?

EuroLeague Women Final Four 2019
Photo by Andrea Kareth /SEPA.Media /Getty Images
Emma Meesseman and Breanna Stewart, as pictured during the 2019 EuroLeague Women Championship.

EuroLeague Women is an annual international basketball event held by FIBA. It features 16 of Europe’s top basketball teams from all over the continent, typically playing an extensive regular season spanning several months before competing for the EuroLeague Women Championship, which is held in a bracket format.

For 2020-21, the EuroLeague Women format has changed considerably due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 16 teams will play in four groups of four (as opposed to the normal two groups of eight) during a condensed regular season that will be played across just seven days — four in early December and three in mid-January. The playoff quarterfinals will be played in mid-March, with the semifinals (final four) and finals scheduled for mid-April.

Why should I follow EuroLeague Women?

An excellent question!

EuroLeague Women boasts perhaps the highest level of competition of any international women’s basketball event. The best teams in Europe compete, which includes a preseason qualifying round to determine the final two contending teams. While there is typically a handful of teams that are clear favorites to win the competition, the level of play during the event is generally considered to be tops in Europe.

Not only is EuroLeague Women great basketball, it’s also easily accessible. From a dedicated and aesthetically pleasing FIBA website containing the league rulebook and a news section to keep you up to date — to a YouTube channel that has free live streams of every EuroLeague Women game — the competition is easy to follow, even if you can’t watch the games live. Following your favorite WNBA players overseas can be a challenge, but for those competing in EuroLeague Women, video, stats and news are easily attainable.

Who competes in EuroLeague Women?

Here is the list of teams competing in the 2020-21 EuroLeague Women season, along with players WNBA fans will be familiar with (per the official FIBA website):

Group A

Dynamo Kursk (Russia) — Alex Bentley, Stephanie Mavunga, Arike Ogunbowale, Amanda Zahui B.

Perfumerias Avenida (Spain) — Tiffany Hayes, Katie Lou Samuelson, Karlie Samuelson, Emese Hof

Izmit Belediyespor (Turkey) — Clarissa dos Santos, Erica Wheeler

Nadezhda (Russia) — Monique Billings

Group B

Fenerbahçe (Turkey) — Kayla McBride, Satou Sabally, Kiah Stokes, Jasmine Thomas, Kia Vaughn, Cecilia Zandalasini

LDLC ASVEL Féminin (France) — Alysha Clark, Marine Johannès, Michelle Plouffe, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe

Arka Gdynia (Poland) — None

ZVVZ USK Praha (Czech Republic) — Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, María Conde

Group C

UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia) — Jonquel Jones, Emma Meesseman, Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, Breanna Stewart, Maria Vadeeva, Alba Torrens

TTT Riga (Latvia) — Megan Huff, Kitija Laksa, Jessica Thomas

Spar Girona (Spain) — Chelsea Gray, Adaora Elonu

Famila Schio (Italy) — Natalie Achonwa, Sandrine Gruda, Kim Mestdagh

Group D

Bourges Basket (France) — Marissa Coleman

Galatasaray (Turkey) — Courtney Williams, Mercedes Russell, Quanitra Hollingsworth

Basket Landes (France) — Celine Dumerc, Katherine Plouffe

Sopron Basket (Hungary) — Briann January, Glory Johnson, Megan Walker, Gabby Williams

Keep in mind that this is subject to change! It’s not unusual to see players come and go throughout the course of a EuroLeague Women season.

How do I watch EuroLeague Women?

All EuroLeague Women games will be streamed for free on FIBA’s YouTube channel. The games will be archived in case you miss them. FIBA also usually posts highlights of the games on the channel, as does the league’s Twitter account.