|One of the faces of European basketball, Ilona Korstin brings a full skill set and lots of experience to Besiktas Istanbul|
The EuroCup Women tips off this week and the quality of the field was there for all to see in a game that took place in Istanbul between Fenerbahce and Optimum Ted Ankara.
Fener, among the favorites to reach the EuroLeague Women Final Eight, went into the game on the back of an impressive victory at Beretta-Famila Schio but they crashed back down to earth in an 84-77 home setback to Ankara, a EuroCup Women outfit.
Ankara, which improved to 2-0 with the victory, got 31 points from Matee B. Ajavon.
The Liberian was five of eight from long range.
Demya Walker contributed 20 in the win.
Ankara open their EuroCup Women campaign at Dexia Namur in Belgium.
Another Turkish side with aspirations of going far in the EuroCup Women is Besiktas.
They will go into their Group B clash at Lotto Young Cats in Belgium on the back of a win in the Turkish TKBL.
Hammered in their first game, Besiktas returned home to Istanbul and beat Mersin, 81-76.
Jantel Lavender had 26 points while Ilona Korstin, the Russia international who joined the club in the summer from Sparta&K Moscow Region, contributed 14, along with seven assists and four rebounds.
Turkey national team forward Yasemin Horasan also contributed 10 points and seven boards.
The other Turkish clubs in the EuroCup Women are Kayseri Kaskispor and Botas.
Kayseri, a talented side that includes Anna De Forge, hosted Galatasaray and lost 84-80.
Latoya Sanders led Kayseri with 21 and De Forge, a Montenegro international, contributed 15.
Galatasaray are among the favorites to win the EuroLeague Women and they were led by Diana Taurasi's 29 points.
Botas, beaten by Fenerbahce last week in Turkey's top flight, fell 81-72 to Ceyhan Bld.
Hainaut Basket won a battle of French EuroCup Women sides.
Petra Stampalija had 18 points and both Amanda Houts and Amisha Carter 14 as Hainaut edged Mondeville, 62-60.
Hainaut coach Corinne Benintendi said of his team: "There was a beautiful show of commitment, desire, struggle and solidarity.
"I am satisfied with the defensive intensity, but we can do better."
Benintendi, who had praise for Marie Ayissi's overall contributions, added ahead of his team's trip to Lemminkainen: "The EuroCup will do us good, we'll see another basketball."
Mondeville must travel to Spartak Noginsk in Russia for their first EuroCup Women game.
Basket Landes slipped to a 59-53 defeat at EuroLeague Women outfit, Lattes Montpellier.
Jennifer Humphrey had 14 points and Bineta Diouf 13 but Montepellier, led by Kristen Mann's 23 points, were too good on the day.
The other two EuroCup Women outfits in France, Nantes Rezé and Arras, met at the weekend.
Nantes Rezé clinched an 88-82 win.
Lenae Williams caught fire from long range for Nantes Rezé, drilling six three-balls en route to 34 points and a game-high valuation of 26.
In defeat, Nsimbo Akonga scored 23 points and corralled 11 rebounds and Smith Cousseins added 21 points.
Challes-Les-Eaux Basket, who have Germany international Romy Bar and European veteran Emilija Podrug, are 6-0 and at the top of the French league with Montpellier (also 6-0).
|Michelle Snow returned to Kursk after posting impressive numbers in the last seasons|
Dynamo Kursk will be formidable opposition in the EuroCup Women if their unbeaten start to the Russia domestic campaign is anything to go by.
The team won its fourth consecutive game with a 76-66 victory over Spartak Noginsk.
Michelle Snow tore apart Spartak with 22 points and Anna Petrakova made four of six shots from long range en route to 14 points.
Lithuania international Ausra Bimbaite added six points for the victors.
EurCup Women team Chevakata were also big winners.
Olga Shuneykina's side rolled to a 76-42 triumph over Energy Ivanovo.
Dynamo Moscow were no match for EuroLeague Women giants UMMC Ekaterinburg, falling 91-52, and Dynamo - GUVD fell 66-59 at Spartak St Petersburg.
In Spain, the country's long EuroCup Women representative Gran Canaria won easily over Navarra.
D'andra Moss hit three shots from behind the arc and had a game-high 29 points for the Canary Islanders as they improved to 2-1 on the season.