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Kenya’s Owino joins top USA basketball team
Kenya's Josephine Achieng Owino (right)
By PHILIP ONYANGO Posted Wednesday, April 1 2009 at 19:21
Kenya’s national basketball team player Josephine Achieng Owino will become the first Kenyan to play in the world’s top women’s basketball league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) league.The six-foot-four Mombasa High School alumnus and former Kenya Commercial Bank Lioness centre was drafted by Indiana at the end of the National Athletics Intercollegiate Association (NAIA) league recently.
She said she was also being sought after by Connecticut and Minnesota but settled for Indiana whose terms she said were more attractive.
“This is the happiest moment of my life. What I started as a joke has now ended up being a reality because I never played basketball in primary school,” she said on telephone from USA on Thursday.
“This will now change the my life and that of my family,” added the star who joins her new club this week. With salaries of Sh5 million per month - on the lower side - for WNBA players, Owino will easily be Kenya’s highest paid sportswoman.
Owino was for the second year running voted NAIA’s player of the year as her college team, the Union University Lady Bulldogs, dominated the competition’s post season honors list in the United States.
Owino, who was also voted NAIA tournament’s Most Valuable player, scored 27 points, gathered nine rebounds and five blocks as Union University beat Lambuth University 73-63 in the finals to win its fourth NAIA Division One women’s basketball championships title at Oman Arena in Jacksons.
Owino will graduate from Union University in May with over 2,123 points and 1,025 rebounds in her career. She, however, leads her university team with 19.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season.
Also with Owino at the university are other Kenyan players Beatrice Awino Oyenje, Mildred Olumasi Imiriai and Sarah Zainab Chan. According to Mark Campbell, the Union University head women’s basketball coach, Owino has simply been outstanding.
“We as Union University family will miss Owino who was outstanding during her four year spell with us and would just wish that she plays basketball to the greatest level,” Campbell said.
Owino leads the All American list of the NAIA players after the conclusion of the season with other Union team mates in the list being Kaitlin Dudley,Meridith Jacobs and Kayla Hudson.
DAILY NATION*- Kenyaâ€™s Owino joins top USA basketball team