MUNICH (Germany) – There have been a number of players who turned up the dial during 2021 and used this calendar year to push themselves further towards the center of the EuroLeague Women radar.
But who has made the biggest move and taken their game to the next level? You can have your say in the fan vote, but first let’s have a closer look at the candidates:
Maria Conde (ZVVZ USK Praha)
Average Stats during 2021: 15.6 PPG; 5.5 RPG; 2.8 APG; 15.3 EFF
Having had some injury issues during her first season in the Czech capital, Conde has come alive in 2021. She is playing some of the best basketball of her career and her impressive individual contributions have added to some strong team momentum. The Spanish winger heads into 2022 looking for her first ever Final Four ticket and if she can maintain this newfound level of performance and consistency, it looks like there could be even more to come.
Bernadett Hatar (Sopron Basket)
Average Stats during 2021: 10.5 PPG; 61% FG; 6.6 RPG; 27.0 EFF
It may be her seventh season in the competition, but the towering Hatar has shown it is never too late to shift up the gears. Having not previously averaged double-digits in scoring, her output has been through the roof during the current season in particular with more than 15 points per game. Perhaps she had a confidence boost by debuting in the WNBA during this past summer, and she was deservedly named Hungarian Player of the Year recently. As for her shooting percentage in 2021 – that is just absolute fire!
Kennedy Burke (Spar Girona)
Average Stats during 2021: 18.9 PPG; 6.2 RPG; 17.3 EFF
It’s been a brilliant debut season so far for Burke, who has made some serious noice in the last stretch of 2021. Burke joined Girona for the last part of the Spanish League season and impressed with her performances. Her WNBA campaign was not hugely productive, but since stepping into EuroLeague Women she has caught absolute fire. Burke’s form has taken Spar Girona into a nice position in Group B and she is proving a tough defensive assignment for every opponent.
Megan Gustafson (VBW Arka Gdynia)
Average Stats during 2021: 17.9 PPG; 63.3% FG; 8.0 RPG; 21.8 EFF
Another debutante, Gustafson has shown that she can perform well at the highest level and the fact she is riding so high in the efficiency chart underlines her overall quality and consistency. She showed great signs in the EuroCup Women last year with a double-double campaign at Gorzow and ever since taking the step up to EuroLeague Women, the forward has not missed a beat. Even in tough times with her team struggling for wins, her displays have been great.
Kitija Laksa (Beretta Famila Schio)
Average Stats during 2021: 11.9 PPG; 41% 3PT; 2.1 RPG
It was a difficult season in 2020-21 for the Latvian wing ace who was part of a TTT Riga team that could not get wins on the board during the bubbles. Laksa was always the shining light, even during a flurry of losses, but at the start of the current campaign she really turned up and so much so, Schio probably wouldn’t even be in the Regular Season if it was not for her sharp-shooting in the all-important Qualifiers.
Eva Lisec (Dynamo Kursk)
Average Stats during 2021: 10.5 PPG; 6.0 RPG; 2.0 APG
Of course everyone already knew about Lisec long before 2021 from her work with the likes of Schio and also with the Slovenia national team. But this was the year when she truly added to her resumè the label of a premier EuroLeague Women performer and leader. Lisec has been a colossus for Dynamo Kursk and the center was deservedly the MVP for October. When she is on the court, Kursk look such a better team and that says a lot about how much she has stepped up.
Maite Cazorla (Perfumerias Avenida)
Average Stats during 2021: 7.6 PPG; 2.6 APG
Sometimes it truly isn’t all about statistics and the numbers. That is surely the case with Cazorla, who brings more to the table and has really began to help make Avenida tick during 2021. These are exciting times for the Spanish guard because during this calendar year she also got her national team career rolling more strongly, so Cazorla showed that she can pull the strings for both club and country, organize a team and be a highly-influential baller whenever she is on the floor.
Marine Fauthoux (Basket Landes)
Average Stats during 2021: 8.4 PPG; 2.4 APG
It’s a similar case with Fauthoux and stats. After spending last season with modest court time at LDLC ASVEL Feminin, a summer loan switch to another French side, in the shape of Basket Landes seems to have paid off. Still only 21 years old, the playmaker is showing she can lead a team positively at this level. If she can continue the upward curve, then Fauthoux will realize the kind of career so many had predicted and hoped for, ever since she was merely an exciting prospect. Her recent display against Fenerbahce was outstanding and deservedly landed Top Performers recognition.