After the scheduled October 16 start to the Women’s Athena Winner League season was disrupted by Swords of Iron, the war which began with Hamas’s inhumane attack which consisted of massacres, abductions and rockets fired at Israel, the season is now set to start on Monday November 20, making it the first top-level Israeli basketball league to start its season.
The start date was determined following consultation between the league’s administration and Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport, Miki Zohar, with the attendance of fans at the games to be determined in accordance with the Homefront Command guidelines at the time.
While the dominant players in the league are usually the foreign imports, the season will begin without any foreign players, as most of them left upon the outbreak of the war. The silver lining of this is that Israeli players will get extended minutes on the court and more exposure.
The teams, which are back at training and already playing warmup games in preparation for November 20, are starting to announce new signings to fill the spots of the foreign players, with AS Ramat Hasharon announcing the signings of veterans Avital Zwebner and Noa Ganor earlier this week.
In addition to the main season, the pre-season tournament, the Athena Winner Tournament will restart on Thursday November 23. The semifinals – AS Ramat Hasharon vs Hapoel Rishon Letzion and Hapoel Lev Jerusalem v Elitzur Ramle – were originally scheduled to take place on the evening of October 7, but were of course postponed due to the war. The final between the two winners will then take place on either Thursday December 14 or Saturday December 16, with the final date and time to be confirmed.
Athena Winner League Round 1 Games (home teams listed first) – November 20, 2023 at 19:00 IST (12:00 EST)
Hapoel Petach Tikvah vs Elitzur Ramle
Elitzur Holon vs Maccabi Ramat Gan
ASA Bank Yahav Jerusalem vs Maccabi Ashdod
Hapoel Lev Jerusalem vs Hapoel Rishon Letzion
AS Ramat Hasharon vs Maccabi Haifa
Athena Winner Tournament Semifinals (home teams listed first) – November 23, 2023
AS Ramat Hasharon v Hapoel Rishon Letzion – 17:00 IST (10:00 EDT)
Hapoel Lev Jerusalem v Elitzur Ramle – 19:00 IST (12:00 EDT)