The Dons women’s basketball team welcomes eight new freshmen this season, seven of whom come to the Bay Area from European teams. This week we will feature four of the eight. All four have represented their respective home countries on the international stage.
#2 Kia Vaalavirta
Vaalavirta comes to the Hilltop from Mäkelänrinteen Lukio High School in Helsinki, Finland. She played in the youth academy at Tapiolan Honka, a club basketball team that used to play at the top level of Finnish basketball, the Korisliiga. Her youth team won the Finnish national championship twice. Vaalavirta has also represented Finland in four international competitions, most recently in the 2017 FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship. In eight appearances in those competitions, she scored 54 points (6.8 points per game) and contributed 39 rebounds and 14 assists. Vaalavirta is a 5-foot-8-inch guard who will slot right into Coach Molly Goodenbour’s lineup. She started for the Dons in their exhibition game against the Wildcats of Chico State University on Oct. 27. She scored 7 points in 23 minutes, along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
#3 Marta Galic
Marta Galic is a 6-foot two-way player from Zagreb, Croatia, where she played alongside her twin sister Marija, who also joins the Dons this season. Marta is listed as a guard for the Dons but has played as a forward for the Croatian U20/21 women’s national team. In the 2018 FIBA U20 Women’s Championship, she scored 48 points in seven games and recorded 23 rebounds. Expect Marta to play as small forward with the ability to post up inside or work the perimeter. In the Dons’ matchup against Chico State, she went 0-4 from the field, scoring 0 points, but contributed 3 rebounds, a block and a steal in 18 minutes.
#4 Marianna Klavina
Klavina is a guard from Riga, Latvia, where she played for TTT Riga basketball club in the European Women’s Basketball League in the 2015-16 season. Klavina has represented Latvia internationally since 2014, when she debuted for the Latvia U16 National Team. She has appeared in seven international competitions for Latvia. Her most recent international appearance was Aug. 13, 2017, when the Latvian U18 National Team defeated Lithuania in 81-72 in the 13th place game in at the 2017 FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship. Klavina contributed 9 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 2 steals in 20 minutes. For the Dons, Klavina scored 5 points against Chico State.
#5 Amalie Langer
Langer was most recently the captain of the Danish U20 Women’s National Team. She has played for varying levels of the Danish National Team since debuting for the U14 team. After graduating from Rungsted Gymnasium in 2017, she played one season on the senior team for the Hørsholm 79ers in the Dameligaen, the top women’s basketball league in Denmark. Hørsholm finished with the best record in the league and won the championship after a five-game series against Stevnsgade Basketball. Langer will feature as a guard for the Dons and will certainly be hoping to bring some of her championship-caliber play to the WCC.