October 29, 2012

Alumni Abroad 2012-13

The 2012-2013 professional basketball season is well underway overseas.

All the national club team leagues have begun play, and last week was the opening round of EuroLeague Women, the highest international professional basketball league in Europe for women’s clubs.

Ten Cardinal hoopsters are playing abroad (two may surprise you), and three that used to aren't. Here they are — oldest to youngest:

Cori Enghusen/Korel Engin ('02) has left Istanbul and is back in Southern Turkey playing for Botasspor Adana. This is her eleventh season of professional basketball, her eighth in Turkey.

Botas finished in the middle of the Turkish Women's League (TKBL) in the past two seasons. They've started well this season with two wins and share the top of the standings with traditional Turkish powerhouses Fenerbahce and Galatasary.

Nicole Powell ('04) is in Spain playing for Perfumerias Avenida. This is her ninth season of professional basketball, her second in Spain (she played for Perfumerias six years ago).

Perfumerias is in the Spanish Women's Basketball League (LFB) and have split their first two games. They are also playing in EuroLeague Women. They lost their opening round game, but basketball journalist Paul Nilsen predicts that they could possibly challenge for the Final Eight. In his profile of the team, Nilsen writes, "Headlining the new arrivals is undoubtedly Nicole Powell who comes via Wisla Can-Pack, where she underlined her status as one of the best inside-outside players in the EuroLeague Women. It's a good bet she will be a marquee player once again because of her scoring power and ability to win games for teams at this level."

Sebnem Kimyacioglu ('05) is back in Turkey playing for Galatasaray. She has been studying law at Santa Clara for four years and took the bar this summer. Galatasaray invited her to come play ball while she waits for the result. She had played professional basketball in Turkey for three seasons, from 2005-2008.

Galatasaray is one of the teams that dominates the Turkish Women's Basketball League (TKBL). They've been the league champion once and the runner-up twice in the past five seasons. They've won their first two games this season. They're also playing in EuroLeague Women for the third straight season and won their opening round game.

Seb hasn't lost her touch. She scored 16 points in the Euroleague game and has averaged eight ppg in the TKBL games. She's made 67% of her shots from beyond the arc. In his review of the first week of EuroLeague, basketball journalist Paul Nilsen wrote, "There was also a landmark day for Sebnem Kimyacioglu of Galatasaray who grabbed 16 points via some sharp perimeter-shooting ..."

Brooke Smith ('07) isn't playing professional basketball this season, as far as I know. The team she played for last season and several seasons before that (Pool Comense) withdrew from the Italy A1 League because of financial problems. There is no news that Brooke has signed with or is playing for another team.

Kristen Newlin ('07) is in Turkey playing for Fenerbahce for the fifth season.

Fenerbahce is the other team that dominates the Turkish Women's Basketball League. They've been the league champion six times and the runner-up once in the past seven seasons. They're playing in Euroleague, for the seventh straight season, but haven't yet played their first round game. They reached the semi-finals last season and basketball journaist Paul Nilsen predicts that they may reach the final this season.

In his profile of the team, Nilsen writes, "One player who will be hoping to be resurrected is Nevin Nevlin. A fundamental part of the success of Fenerbahce for several years, the forward has drifted into the background of late, averaging just nine minutes per game across the last two seasons. With the added kick in the teeth of not being selected by Turkey for the Olympics despite a hugely impressive EuroBasket Women 2011 contribution, I do hope she is given the chance to shine once again."

Cissy Pierce ('08) is in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg playing for Racing Luxembourg. Cissy began her professional career with two very successful seasons in Germany, but played in just ten games last season after suffering first a foot problem, then a shoulder injury.

Racing is one of six teams in the Luxembourg Diekirch League (a surprising number of women's professional basketball clubs for a country about 100th the size of Oregon). The team has started the 2012-13 season poorly, losing its first three games. Cissy is a strong addition to the team — she's averaged 18.3 ppg, second-best on the team and #9 in the league.

Candice Wiggins ('08) isn't playing overseas this season. She had an offer to play in Korea, but decided, "It's cool to relax and enjoy life. I'm 25 years old."

Jillian Harmon ('09) is in Italy playing for Lavezzini Parma after three seasons with Pool Comense in Como.

Parma has been in the lower tier of the Italian A1 League for the past several seasons, but are off to a good start this season with two wins in their first three games.

Jillian is averaging a double-double, with 10.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

Michelle Harrison ('10) has begun her professional basketball career in Switzerland playing for Uni Basel, after working on her masters degree in education, culture and society at the University of Utah

Basel has placed in the bottom tier of the Switzerland Women's Basketball League (LNA) in the past few seasons and have lost their first two games this season.

Michelle is a stong addition to the team. She leads in scoring (21.8) and assists (2.5) and is second in rebounds (9.0).

Jayne Appel ('10) is in China playing for the Henan Elephants.

Jayne is the first Stanford alum to play in China. Six other WNBA players are in China for the 2012-13 season, but none of them on the same team as Jayne. Henan is a large city in Central China, about 440 miles south of Beijing. It is said to be the birthplace of Chinese civilization.

There is little news about Chinese women's basketball on the internet. All my sources still show last season's information (Henan finished last in the Chinese Women's Basketball League (WCBA)), but Jayne tweets that they won their first game this season.

Kayla Pedersen ('11) is in southern Turkey near the Mediterranean playing for Ceyhan Belediyespor. She's been in Ceyhan for about a month, and so far she loves it. Read more about what she's been doing in her blog.

Ceyhan is a middle-tier team in the very strong Turkish Women's Basketball League. They've split their first two games this season.

Kayla has made a good start. She's in the starting five, playing about 26 minutes per game. She's averaged 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals.

Jeanette Pohlen ('11) isn't playing basketball this season, because she's rehabbing the ACL that she tore in game 2 of the WNBA Finals

Nneka Ogwumike ('12) has begun her overseas professional career in Poland playing for CCC Polkowice.

Polkowice is in the top tier of the Polish Women's Basketball League (PLKK). They've won their first five games. They're also playing in EuroLeague Women and lost their opening round game.

Nneka is playing her usual excellent game. She's played in just one of the five league games, but leads the team in rebounds (7.0) and is second in scoring (14.0). She scored 21 points in the EuroLeague game, had five rebounds, made all her free throws and sank a three-pointer.

In his review of the first week of EuroLeague, basketball journalist Paul Nilsen wrote, "There is huge expectation for Nnemkadi Ogwumike in her rookie season and she opened her account in the EuroLeague Women with 21 points and five rebounds for CCC Polkowice."

In his profile of the team, Nilsen writes,"The club has given their prospects of emerging from the first phase of the competition a huge boost with arguably the most exciting signing of the off-season, by handing a EuroLeague Women debut to the stellar talented Nnemkadi Ogwumike. Fans who don't follow the game in the USA, in terms of the WNBA or College game, may not yet be familiar with her explosive frontcourt game, but suffice to say, the EuroLeague Women potentially has a major new star of the future stepping onto the floor for the first time this year. Ogwumike has got a fantastic all-round game and frighteningly, she can still get a whole lot better due to the fact she is still relatively young and will mature with the experience of life in the EuroLeague Women. I expect she can have the same level of impact as players who have hit the ground running in previous seasons, such as Tina Charles for example. Signing Ogwumike should fill CCC Polkowice fans with huge levels of anticipation and excitement although she is only narrowly the best signing they have made!"

October 27, 2012

Shelley's experience in the Peace Corps

Shelley Nweke ('06) has returned home to Marietta, Georgia after serving three years in Suriname with the Peace Corps. She recounts her experience in this article by Sally Litchfield in the Marietta Daily Journal.

October 21, 2012

Jeanette has a torn ACL

Jeanette missed just one game due to injury in her college career — a sprained right ankle.

But she suffered a serious injury in the second game of the WNBA Finals on Wednesday night — a torn ACL in her right knee.

She had signed a contract with a Turkish team for the 2012-13 season, but will presumably miss that as well as the rest of the WNBA finals.

Jeanette led the league in 3-point percentage last season at 0.468. She averaged 0.421 this season and was 5-of-5 from the arc in the playoffs

Jeanette joined Katy Douglas on the bench in Indianapolis as they cheered on their team during the third game of the finals.

October 14, 2012

Candice vs Jeanette

Although neither Candice nor Jeanette is a star player in the WNBA, each has played a significant role in her team's contention for the league championship.

Candice has been a spark off the bench for the Minnesota Lynx all season. She's played about 22 minutes per game, and averaged 6.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.7 steals. On or off the court, she contributes her unmatchable "Where there's a Wiggins, there's a way!" spirit to her team's success.

Jeanette has been a role player for the Indiana Fever — their 3-point specialist. In game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Jeanette was one of those who stepped up to the challenge of beating the Connecticut Sun after Katie Douglas went down with an ankle injury five minutes into the game. She stepped up big, hitting 100% of her five shots, four of them from beyond the arc.

So it's Candice vs Jeanette as Minnesota faces Indiana in the first game of the finals tonight.


October 7, 2012

Nneka is Rookie of the Year

What's been predicted all season was confirmed today as Nneka was named the WNBA Rookie of the Year. It was a near-unanimous opinion—she received 38 or 39 of 41 or 42 votes (reports vary)

This report from the WNBA includes all the statistics that earned Nneka the honor. In this story by Michelle Smith, Nneka says that it wasn't all that hard.

Sparks coach Carol Ross was named WNBA Coach of the Year.

The day didn't end happily for the Sparks—they lost their second conference playoff game to the Minnnesota Lynx 79-80.