FIBA Europe EuroCup Women 2009-2010 is ready to start
There are 41 teams from 22 countries in the EuroCup Women competition this season with just two clubs from France.
USO Mondeville as winners of the LFB challenge round and Lattes Montpellier who finished 4th during the regular season are the only representatives from France. The French Basketball Federation (FFBB) vetoed the participation of other clubs.
There are five clubs from Russia but none from Italy.
Furthermore there are also three clubs from Greece, Portugal, Spain and Turkey while Croatia, Poland, Switzerland and Ukraine provide two clubs.
Dynamo Moscow that won the trophy in 2007 is the only former winner in the competition.
The 41 teams have been split into 11 groups with 8 groups of 4 teams and 3 groups of 3 teams.
32 teams will qualify for the play-off series: that is the first two teams from each group and 10 of the 11 teams that finish in third place.
The brackets for the play-off are decided on the records of the clubs during the group phase with the teams seeded 1 to 32 with the top seeds drawn against the lowest seed.
That is 1 v 32, 2 v 31, ... 15 v 16 and so on; with the second leg always played at the venue of the lower seed.
The French teams' opponents
Caroline Aubert is playing in the EuroCup women for Mondeville this season
Mondeville are in EuroCup Women Group A with Vagos from Portugal, Sdent Sierre Basket from Switzerland and Seat Györ from Hungary.
Vagos played in the competition last season but did not win a game while Sdent Sierre are back in Europe after missing out last season.
Sierre have players from seven countries on their roster. Seat Györ have played in this competition for the last two seasons.
Mondeville is expected to qualify for the play-off because they have on paper the strongest roster in the group.
Montpellier are in Group C alongside two times EuroLeague Champions MBK Ruzomberok, CAD Madeira from Portugal and Lemminkainen from Lithuania.
Kaela Chapdelaine who played in France last season with Nantes-Rezé during the first half of the season is now playing in the Slovak Republic for MBK.
MKB only won two games last season in this competition and did not qualify for the second phase of the competition.
They are expected to do much better this season. Montpellier are also expected to qualify from this group.
Mondeville and Montpellier's objective during the group phase is to win as many games as possible to be seeded high for the play-off so that they have can play the second leg matches at home.
A quick look at the other EuroCup Women groups
The objective of the top teams is to win as many games as possible to finish high in the seeding for the play-off so that they have the opportunity to play the second leg at home.
In the past two seasons the teams that finished as number one seeds failed to make it to the finals.
All the clubs from Greece, Israel, Poland, Russia, Spain and Turkey are expected to qualify for the next stage of the competition.
The Romanian club side Municipal Tatgoviste has one of the most impressive rosters in the competitions with Israeli international Shay Doron, Belarus internationals Natallia Marchanka and Tatyana Troina.
Also on the roster are Emma Randall (left) and Anne-Marie Parau who have both played in the LFB.
There are always surprises, yet with so few entries this season, we have to wait until the play-offs for this competition to take off.
The qualifying round will take place between 11 November 2009 until 17 December 2009.
In Group B Cran Canaria from Spain should be the favourite team to win the group. Jaklin Zlatanova (right) who played at Tarbes for a few years in the academy team and in the LFB is now playing in Spain.
ZKK Medvescak have Belarus international Nataliya Trafimava on their roster.
Dexia Namur from Belgium are back again while the Portuguese side is hoping to do better than last season with six defeats.
Krissy Bade is playing for Ibiza in Group D. This is tough group with CCC Polkowice, SaarLouis Royals and Nyon.
CCC are experienced campaigners in Europe while Saarlouis mark the return of German club sides after a couple of season's absence.
Only three teams play in Group E. Allison Feaster should be leading Spanish club side Mann Filter.
Jolly JBS Sibenik and Energa Torum are the remaining teams in this group.
Chavakata fell in the semi-final last season and are one of the favourites this season. They are in Group F with Bestiktas, Sony Athinaikos and Hatis Yerevan.
Dynamo Moscow have lost most of the players they had last season. However they still have a strong team for this season. They play against Hapoel Tel Aviv, Dunav Econt Ruse and LMK SBC SF Gheorgh in Group G.
Group H sees Municipal Targoviste take on Dynamo Kursk, KV Imperial AEL and Samsun Basket.
Nadezhda Orenburg played in the EuroLeague last season and are expected top Group I. They face Botas Sport, MGS Apollon and Baschet ICM.
The last two groups J and K are made up of three teams: AC Faliro, Spartak Noginska and KK Hemofarm make up Group J while Ziljeznicar, BC Dnipro and Dynamo Kyev make up the last group.