Downunder Tours Dolphins sign WNBA Draftee Mekia Valentine
The 2014 Downunder Tours Dolphins squad will feature its first ever US import following the signing of WNBA draftee Mekia Valentine.
Valentine, a 193-centimetre centre from University of California Santa Barbara, was drafted by the WNBA’s New York Liberty in 2011 before playing professionally in Poland and Romania.
Cairns Basketball CEO and Dolphins head coach, David Herbert, said Valentine would fill the void left by Opal Cayla Francis’ limited availability in 2013.
“We have searched high and low to find the right player to come in and make an impact for our program. In Mekia we have found this; her imposing figure and athleticism are something which will draw people to our games,” Herbert said.
“Mekia adds a lot to this squad., and her height and tremendous athleticism will make her difficult to guard at the QBL level. We are certainly excited to have her on board this year,” he said.
In addition to proving the Dolphins with an immediate scoring threat, Mekia boasts impressive defensive stats. While at UCSB she set a Big West Conference record with 11 blocks, and in 2011 was voted the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Herbert said the signing demonstrated how serious Cairns Basketball was about further developing its women’s programme.
’We are very serious about creating a pathway for young female players, which may ultimately lead to having our own WNBL team right here in Cairns," he said.
“Signings like this combined with the recent success of our young female junior teams points to a bright future ahead for the Dolphins program.”
For further information please feel free to contact David Herbert on 0448345505
Mekia Valentine: professional highlights
· Averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 boards, 1.5 blocks & 59% FG for SF Gheorghe (2012-13)
· Romanian Center of the Year (2013)
· All-Romanian 2nd team (2013)
· Romanian All-Defensive team (2013)
· Averaged 10.1 points, 7.3 boards, 1.4 blocks & shot 52.7 % FG for Rybnik, Poland (2011-12)
· Drafted 34 to the NY Liberty (2011)
· Big West Defensive Player of the Year (2011)
· Two-time All-Big West 2nd Team
· Averaged 11.1 points, 11.2 boards, 3.7 blocks & 62% FG (2011)
· Averaged 12.3 points, 9.7 boards, 4.0 blocks & 57.4 % Fg (2010)
· Big West All-Tourney team (2010)
International: Hapoel, Petach Tykva, Israel 2013-14; Sf. Gheorghe, Romania; 2012-13; Rybnik, Poland