London Lions target more history in EuroLeague Women debut -

London Lions target more history in EuroLeague Women debut

London Lions have reached the EuroCup Women playoffs in back-to-back seasons, and now they embark on their biggest challenge yet in aiming to qualify for the EuroLeague Women regular season.

Last season’s WBBL treble winners take on Hungarian side DVTK in a two-legged qualifier for the right to make it into Europe’s elite competition with a home opener on Wednesday.

The stars align

The Lions are stacked (again). They pulled off some blockbuster moves including the signings of GB stars Temi Fagbenle, Cheridene Green and Karlie Samuelson – who joins off the back of a breakthrough WNBA season with the LA Sparks.

Not to mention bringing in last season’s EuroLeague scoring leader in Megan Gustafson, a first round WNBA pick in Abby Meyers, Serbian international Ivana Katanic and former Baylor guard Juicy Landrum as part of their new overseas additions.

Savannah Wilkinson is back in London and Maya Price also returns from college in the US. Leading guard Holly Winterburn will be expected to continue to take steps forward, while the experience of Shanice Beckford-Norton and Kat Snytsina is invaluable to the squad – and getting everyone on the same page will be key – with rising stars Faye Endean and Katie Cox included.

The Green derby

Cheridene Green knows all about London’s opponents having spent the last two seasons in Miskolc before finalising a homecoming this summer. It remains to be seen whether the GB international will take to the court for the fixture having been recovering from an injury over the summer.

Green was one of the underrated players in EuroLeague action last season with averages of 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game including a 22-point performance against Hungarian rivals Sopron as one of two recorded double-doubles.

The opposition

As well as the departure of Green, the Hungarians also lost their star player in Arella Guirantes with the Puerto Rican international making the switch to Italian side Schio. DVTK went 19-3 domestically last season and made some noise in their EuroLeague debut campaign with six wins in the regular season.

Australian Darcee Garbin was one of four players – including Green and Guirantes – to average double figures in scoring, and returns for another season – as does veteran forward Milica Jovanovic, who represented Montenegro at this summer’s EuroBasket. Reka Lelic had a solid tournament for fourth-placed Hungary and returns home after a season with Castors Braine – averaging 13.2 points per game in EuroCup action.

It would be another landmark moment for the Lions if they were able to advance, and they already know the path that lies ahead having been provisionally placed into Group A alongside the reigning EuroLeague champions Fenerbahce and last season’s EuroCup winners LDLC ASVEL.

First leg: vs DVTK – Copper Box Arena – 20th September (tickets, HERE)
Second leg: @ DVTK – 27th September

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