Checking in with Fever Players Overseas

This tweet by @EuroCupWomen caught my attention last weekend:

The Tweet praises versatile Indiana Fever forward Erica McCall for essentially doing it all: “Erica McCall is all that and a bag of chips.”

With food and Fever players in mind, here is a smorgasboard overview of what Fever players have accomplished overseas since we last saw them in August.

Erica McCall – Hungary
Beginning with McCall, better known to friends and staff as simply “Bird,” she has absolutely enjoyed a well-rounded winter with Atomeromu in Hungary. Averaging better than a block and steal per game, she has paired defensive success with 13.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game through 15 games in the Hungarian League. After two EuroLeague games to begin the year, her club continued play in EuroCup where she has been dominant, leading the club in points and rebounds per game, while posting five double-doubles.

A second-round pick of the Fever in 2017, the former Stanford star is looking to turn a corner and find more consistent contribution in the WNBA. Her numbers were virtually identical in Atomeromu last season when her club lost in the Hungarian Finals. This year, at 13-4 and with wins in seven of their last eight domestic games, McCall and her teammates will contend for the title again.

Candice Dupree – Hungary
Staying in Hungary (and why not since it was food and chips that began this discussion), Candice Dupree has returned to the European scene after sitting out the 2017-18 overseas campaign to be with her twin daughters. Dupree has been as consistent as always, leading Sopron Basket to an unbeaten (17-0) domestic schedule so far while leading McCall’s Atomeromu team in the Hungarian standings.

The savvy veteran averages 11.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game during Hungarian action and has elevated production with 13.4 points and 6.2 rebounds during EuroLeague play. She plays beside WNBA stars Amanda Zahui B. (New York Liberty) and Yvonne Turner (Phoenix Mercury) on Hungary’s highest-scoring team.

Erica Wheeler – Russia
Staying in Europe, Erica Wheeler is one of two Fever stars competing in Russia, helping lead Nadezhda Orenburg to an 11-4 mark in the Russian League and a 7-6 record in EuroLeague action. Wheeler leads Nadezhda with 4.9 assists per game to rank second in the league and is second on her team to WNBA star Brionna Jones (Connecticut Sun) with 10.7 points per game.

In EuroLeague action, Wheeler posts elevated averages of 12.2 points and 6.1 assists per game, twice reaching double-digit assists. Nadezhda’s starting point guard, her high scoring game was 24 points, with a pair of 20-point games against Euro competition.

Stephanie Mavunga – Russia
Perhaps the most impressive Fever performer overseas has been Stephanie Mavunga who currently leads the Russian league with 18.2 points per game. Starting in the post for Enisey, she averages a whopping 24.8 points and 12.4 rebounds in EuroCup play while leading her club into a first-round playoff appearance.

Enisey is tied for fourth place in the Russian League, just behind Wheeler and Nadezhda in third. Top games for the first-year pro and Brownsburg High School alum include a 33-point, 18-rebound performance in October. In EuroCup action, she scored 20 points or more in 7 of 8 games, including her best game of 34 points and 23 rebounds against Mersin (Turkey) and Tiffany Mitchell.

Prior to a six-game absence due to an ankle injury last summer wi, Mavunga was beginning to produce regular minutes and rebounds in the WNBA. Her development in the post could be vital to Indiana’s improvement in 2019.

Kelsey Mitchell – Turkey
In Istanbul, Turkey with traditional power Besiktas, Kelsey Mitchell is putting up almost identical scoring numbers as her former Ohio State teammate, Mavunga. Mitchell averages 24.7 points in the Turkish League and a consistent 24.6 points per game in EuroCup action.

During Mitchell’s rookie campaign in Indiana, field goal percentage was the biggest difference noticed between her college and pro career, shooting a 34 percent clip in her first WNBA season. She currently shoots 44 percent in Turkish games and 33 percent against tougher Euro competition.

Tiffany Mitchell – Israel
Tiffany Mitchell’s season overseas has been marked by change – change among three different teams and two countries. She opened the winter season playing nine games with Mersin in Turkey and later changed teams in the Turkish League, sliding to Turkey’s capital city in Ankara. She played six games and averaged 19.3 points per game with OGM Orman but transferred in early February to Israel. To date, she has not played yet with Elitzur Ramla whose 15-4 record sits atop the Israeli standings.

Victoria Vivians – Israel
Elsewhere in Israel, rookie Victoria Vivians is averaging 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists with Maccabi Ashdod, currently third in the Israeli standings. She has played 19 games and is the club’s second-leading scorer. She has reached double-figure scoring in all but one game, and has eclipsed 20 points on nine occasions. Her best scoring game featured 11-of-23 shooting overall, with 30 points, six boards and four assists.

Kayla Alexander – Australia
Alexander is one of three Fever players to finish the Australian WNBL season last week, helping the Adelaide Lightning to a finals appearance against the UC Capitals. Alexander had 11 points and seven rebounds in the championship game, right in line with season averages of 11.9 points and 8.9 boards. She was awarded the team’s commitment to excellence award.

Betnijah Laney – Australia
Signed to a free agent contract with Indiana on Feb. 5, Laney was named the defensive player of the year with the Dandenong Rangers of the WNBL. The Rangers finished 9-12 overall with Laney averaging a second-best 14.1 points per game to go with 6.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Asia Taylor – Australia
Taylor, who re-signed with Indiana last week also, had a standout season while leading the Perth Lynx in scoring with 18.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. She was named the Lynx’ MVP and was a member of the WNBL’s All-Star Five.

Natalie Achonwa – China
Indiana’s highest overseas scorer this past winter? Look no further than four-year WNBA veteran Natalie Achonwa whose 25.2 points per game in China just continued her breakout season with six double-doubles last summer. Achonwa played 25 games with Jiangsu from October to December before returning to Indianapolis. She also averaged 11.1 points per game.

Achonwa produced a few monster games in China: 35 points and 12 rebounds before back-to-back games with 42 points on Dec. 14 and Dec. 17. She reached double-digit scoring in 24 of 25 outings and collected 16 double-doubles in 25 games.