A weird thing about being a WNBA fan is that as soon as the season ends most of the league flies off overseas and you barely hear from the players again except when a tweet pops up in your feed in a different language which you think means your favorite player got a double-double.
It’s unsurprising that so many players go overseas. Players are underpaid here in the U.S., which means it’s almost necessary to play abroad to make a living and keep up with training in a cost-effective way. For more background on WNBA overseas, here’s a great 30 for 30 Podcast about Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi’s years playing in Russia together. (Less informative but more fun is this 4 hour instagram live, during which Bird and Taurasi talk at length about how much butter they ate in Russia.)
Luckily, there are now more sources cataloging WNBA players abroad, including the Winsidr’s Overseas Tracker, which I rely on heavily here. And reviewing, it’s wild to see the combinations of athletes playing together overseas, amassing some absolute superteams. Here are the teams I’ll be keeping up with:
Category is: Limitless Potential
Players: Myisha Hines-Allen, Julie Allemand, Cheyenne Parker
This is like the superteam of players who seem like they’ll never stop getting better. Hines-Allen had a breakout year in which she went from playing less than 9 minutes a game to making the All-WNBA second team. Cheyenne Parker has become a better competitor every year I’ve seen her play, and always starts just a few too many games to be 6th Woman of the Year every year. Julie Allemand, a third-round pick in 2016, made the all-rookie team this year and was second in the league this year in assists.
Last year, Gabby Williams played for BLMA and came back with the 3-point shot. What will these three do?
Dynamo Kursk (Russia)
Category is: Living Out Your Trade Fantasies
Players: Arike Ogunbowale, Amanda Zahui B.
Can you imagine if Arike went to the New York Liberty and added her firepower and killer instinct to the Ionescu backcourt? Or Zahui B. going to the Wings and complementing Arike’s & Mabrey’s shooting with her rebounding and blocking abilities? Come daydream with me while watching Dynamo.
UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia)
Category is: Possible Felony
Players: Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Brittney Griner, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, Emma Meesseman, Maria Vadeeva
When we previously reported on UMMC, Dani described this team as “a simply unfair stockpile of WNBA talent.” I think it may be illegal. Two Finals MVPs (Stewart, Meesseman). One two-time MVP (Stewart). Multiple MVP candidates (Jones, Griner, Vandersloot). And the definition of a power couple (Vanderquigs4life). All on one team? This must violate some state or local laws.
FYI for Chicago Sky fans I did ask Head Coach Wade, who is also a UMMC Coach, if he would recruit these players to join the Vanderquigs on the Sky and he unfortunately demurred because tampering is a thing that is actually not allowed.
Nesibe Aydin (Turkey)
Category is: Impossible Not to Root For
Players: Ruthy Hebard, Shey Peddy
Do not talk to me if you don’t root for Ruthy’s and Shey’s successes. (Just kidding, subscribe to Sports are from Venus, I’m new here.) But truly, was there anything more charming than all of Alaska forming a car parade to celebrate Ruthy when she was drafted? Or Shey Peddy — a 30-year-old sophomore player — hitting the game-winner in the playoffs against the team that cut her? The answer is no.
Southside Flyers (Australia)
Category is: Twins
Players: Liz Cambage, Leilani Mitchell
It’s the league’s almost-tallest player at 6’8 with the league’s shortest player at 5’5. That is inherently fun. Cambage has been compared to Godzilla for the way she crushes other players in the paint, and Mitchell is small, frustratingly fast, and has the ups to still get to the rim. They’ve played together on the Australian national team as well, but somehow have not yet done a Twins photoshoot.
Famila Schio (Italy)
Category is: First Team All-Personality
Players: Natasha Cloud, Stefanie Dolson
Two of my favorite Instagram follows on one team. I just hope they become friends and make great TikToks together. In basketball analysis, they both are very good and will improve the team etc. etc. give me the content.
Turkey’s Literal Super League
Apparently, the top women’s professional basketball division in Turkey is literally called the Women’s Basketball Super League or KBSL. And it lives up to its name. In addition to Nesibe Aydin (above). The league has amassed these superteams:
- Bellona Kayseri Basketbol: Jacki Gemelos, Kylee Shook, Kiki Herbert-Harrigan, Ty Harris.
- Fenerbahce: Satou Sabally, Jasmine Thomas, Kayla McBride, Kia Vaughn.
- Galatasaray: Courtney Williams, Bella Alarie
- Hatay BSB: Astou Ndour, Alexis Prince
- Izmit Belediyespor: Ariel Atkins, Erica Wheeler.
- OGM Orman Genclik Ankara: Brittney Sykes, Riquana Williams.
Okay, that’s it, I’m moving to Turkey for the offseason.
You can see the full list of players abroad on the Winsidr Overseas Tracker. And please comment to let me know who you’re rooting for during this insufferably long WNBA offseason.
Image Source: AP Images