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SIU alumna to play professional basketball in Serbia

Photo credit: The Southern

From The Southern Illinoisan:

Recent SIU graduate Rishonda Napier became the eighth Saluki women’s basketball player to sign a professional contract Tuesday, inking a deal with ZKK Kraljevo of Kraljevo, Serbia.

The ZKK Kraljevo play in both the First Women’s Basketball League of Serbia (ZLS) and the WABA League. The First Women’s Basketball League of Serbia is a 12-team league comprised of Serbia’s top teams, while the WABA League is a top-level regional basketball league featuring 12 teams from Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Macedonia. ZKK Kraljevo is currently 2-2 in WABA play and 2-1 in ZLS play.

One of two Americans on ZKK Kraljevo’s roster, Napier will begin practice soon after arriving in Serbia, with her first opportunity to play coming on Nov. 1.

A native of Burbank, California, Napier was named first team All-Missouri Valley Conference for the third time in her career after she finished her senior season ranked in the top-10 of the MVC in six statistical categories including scoring (eighth), assists (second), steals (tied for ninth) and 3-pointers made (third). Napier is just the third Saluki in history to earn three All-MVC first team honors, and, as a senior, became the first Saluki since the 2007-08 season to earn three MVC scholar-athlete honors.

“We’re really excited for Rishonda,” SIU coach Cindy Stein said. “We think she will do a great job and we look forward to her continuing her basketball career.”

Napier ended her Saluki career as the program’s all-time leader in free throw percentage (84.9%), 3-pointers made (277) and minutes played (4,138 minutes). She also ranks second on SIU’s all-time points list with 1,728 career points.


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