Duquesne graduate Vanessa Abel is now a professional athlete after signing a one-year contract with the GiroLive Panthers. The Panthers compete in Germany’s Division-One basketball league known as the Damen-Basketball-Bundesliga League (DBBL). The team’s home games are located in Osnabruck, which is a little less than 300 miles west of Berlin. From Scottdale to Osnabruck, basketball has taken Abel on a long trip that seems far from ending anytime soon.
In high school Abel was the star at Southmoreland Senior High School.
Her statistics were spectacular, but what most people noticed about Abel was her ability to win games and attract the ball. It was quite clear that she was a standout and not just a high school star. After a few transitional years, Abel latched on to Duquesne University, where she helped the college establish a winning culture leading them to the NCAA March Madness tournament in 2013.
According to Duquesne’s official website, Abel became the second player from the Class of 2013 — the single most wins in the program history with 88 victories — to sign a professional contract. Jocelyn Floyd, of Washington Pa., signed with New Basket Oberhausen 92, also of the DBBL, in June of this year.
Abel statistically overachieved at Duquesne. She finished her career seventh in university history in steals with 210, ninth all-time with 371 assists and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.386). She was named 2011 Atlantic 10 Third-Team All-Conference. She led the Dukes to a 56-24 record as a starter, which in addition to her numbers at Southmoreland opened up the eyes of the German scouts.
Abel has only been playing in Germany for two months, but she already has plenty to say about the experience.
“The season is going great! As a rookie point guard I have my ups and downs, but I’m starting to climb to the top,” said Abel. The former Duquesne star also talked about how much Women’s professional basketball is appreciated over in Germany. “The atmosphere is outstanding here! Every game whether its home or away has been packed!” said Abel.“They appreciate women’s basketball so much more than America! On the court I can’t even hear myself think! It’s been a sell out almost every game and I am very thankful to be playing in front of these kinds of fans. It reminds me of my high school days when the bleachers were packed with students and fans! I love it!”. – Vanessa Abel on playing in Europe
Follow Josh King and his journalism career on twitter – @joshk65
Duquesne University is a private, coeducational university located on a bluff above downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1878 as a Catholic college by the Order of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne is the only Spiritan institution of higher education in the world. A member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Duquesne sponsors 16 Division I sports (football competes in the Football Championship Subdivision). DU is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference in all sports other than football (associate member of the Northeast Conference).