Sophomore guard Ioanna Krimili comes from Heraklion, Greece where she was regarded as one of the best collegiate basketball players in the country. As a member of Panthesalonikos Athlitikos Omilos Konstantinoupolis, or PAOK, a well-renowned club in the European Basketball circuit, she earned the Most Improved Player Award as well as being named to the A1 League’s all domestic team in 2019.
Before Krimili’s commitment to USF, USF assistant coach Arthur Moreira just so happened to be watching Krimili play in the European championship. After a stellar performance, coaches reached out to offer her the opportunity to be a part of the Dons’ Women’s Basketball Team. Shortly thereafter, Krimli and her mother visited San Francisco and the USF campus, and Krimili knew that USF was exactly what she was looking for.
Krimili is the daughter of Stella and Ilias and a sister to older brother Xristofros. Family plays a big part in Krimili’s life on and off the court. “[My biggest inspiration] would be my brother because he is why I started playing basketball. He is four years older, and I would go sit and watch his practices and he continues to be there for me on and off the court. He loves basketball and whether I had a bad day or a good game he will always text me first and tell me what went well and what didn’t…I am so lucky that my brother and I are so close.”
Krimili arrived at the Hilltop in 2019 and showed flashes of excellence as a true freshman, leading the Dons in scoring before her season was cut short by an injury after only nine games. Upon her arrival at USF, Krimilli faced many of the unique challenges international students face when going abroad to attend university. “The transition [from Greece to the United States] was really hard, especially with the language barrier. Until I moved [to San Francisco] I was not speaking English and the fact that I knew I was not going to be able to see my family for eight months was very hard. I feel like this is something that any freshman faces, it is hard having to stay focused while thinking about your family. Greece is so far from here and it is not easy for my family to visit. The first six months I did not know anyone, and everyone was from different countries, but no one was from Greece, so I had to learn English fast,” Krimili said.
As a freshman, Krimili also had to adjust to the rigorous basketball schedule and become familiar with the play of U.S. basketball. In addition to getting used to the differences between American and Greek basketball, Krimili also had to navigate the differences in culture. “[As a freshman] it was different because I think [in the U.S.] basketball is quicker and you run fewer plays. Everyone is more athletic and stronger here. I had to adjust because we have to lift three times a week plus three-hour practices and lots of scouting. We were in the gym for about six hours a day, and as a freshman, I was tired and sore all the time and I struggled, but I got used to it my sophomore year.”
Krimili credits her team and coaches for her ability to perform at such a high level, citing the love and care between the players and their coaches as the main reason they excel on the court. “I don’t think I could have done what I have been doing the last three years if I would have chosen another school. My teammates and I all care about each other, and we are hanging out all the time off the court as well, it is not only about basketball,” she said. “I know it looks like I score so much but it is because my teammates can find me, and I know how they like to play the game and I know that I can do the same for them. It is not only about me, it is also about my teammates, and I am glad I can help on the offensive end.”
Krimili has enjoyed her time in San Francisco and highlighted the countless activities to take part in across the city, such as enjoying a wide variety of cultural cuisines, walking through many of San Francisco’s scenic parks, as well as enjoying Golden State Warriors games. Krimili speaks highly of the city of San Francisco and calls it “one of the prettiest cities I have ever been to.”
Krimili and the Dons punched a ticket to the WCC tournament in Las Vegas, for their second consecutive season, where they made a great run but unfortunately fell short of their championship hopes, only making it to the semi finals. Krimili led the team in scoring with 20 points despite the loss. The Dons now look to the offseason, where they will refine their game and skills and look to make another run at a championship next season.