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NEWS: Angela Ribarich signs first pro deal in Denmark

Photo: Greg Mason.
Photo: Greg Mason.

Following three dominant years with the Gee-Gees women's basketball team, Angela Ribarich is now moving on to her first professional opportunity in Copenhagen, Denmark with BK Amager.

Ribarich joined the Gee-Gees for the 2017-18 season after spending two seasons of playing NCAA Division I basketball at Lafayette College. At 6-5, Ribarich provided the Gee-Gees with outstanding length and shot-making ability in the post. Averaging 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in her first season, Ribarich established herself as a strong presence in the OUA. 

Everything best came together in 2018-19, when Ribarich upped her averages to 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on an OUA-best and U SPORTS third-best 54.8 per cent from the field. Ribarich also led the OUA and finished second nationally with 44 blocks on the season. 

Last season, Ribarich averaged 8.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest on 48.5 per cent shooting. The Toronto, Ont. product closed her collegiate career ranked third in the OUA in field goal percentage and third in blocks with 39. 

BK Amager plays in the Dameligaen, the top Danish league for professional women's basketball. Joining last year's champion, in one of the world's most livable cities was an opportunity too good to pass up for Ribarich. 

"Copenhagen is someplace that I have been interested in travelling to for a while and the way of life in is very different from that in Ottawa or Toronto, where I'm from," said Ribarich. "Getting to experience it first-hand was a very exciting prospect and played in to my decision in a huge way." 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ribarich had put any hopes of playing pro on the backburner temporarily as international travel ground to a halt. It was not until she spoke with her teammate Katherine Follis about signing in Germany that she realized that opportunities for this year were still on the table. Jumping in, she found the opportunity with BK Amager and was ready to kick off her professional career.

Citing a chance to experience the style of play in Europe, as well as take in the culture and history of a new continent and nation, Ribarich believes she found a perfect fit for her first pro opportunity.

"As with every team that I have been on, I hope to make an impact," Ribarich said of setting goals for her first season. "Ideally that will be in the form of positive stats, but I would also like to be supportive of my teammates and get our team as far as we can go. Being one of the top teams in the league adds some pressure and ultimately I want to rise to that occasion and prove myself here." 

Gee-Gees head coach Andy Sparks understands the kind of talent Ribarich can bring to any team and is excited to see her career take off as a pro. 

"It was really an honour to coach Angela and see her develop as a player and now move to the next level," he said. "We were seeing continual growth from her, to the point that I think that at times, she was the most dominant player in Canada last year."

"She is stepping into a league that plays at a really high level, where she's going to be challenged to continue to grow, and I know that she is going to do that. I know that her career will blossoms from this point."

Reflecting on her time in Ottawa, Ribarich credits the relationships fostered and lessons learned for helping her transition to life at the next level on and off the court.

"The relationships I've built are everything to me," she said. "I'm still in touch with all of my teammates and coaches and I rely on them for a lot and I hope that if it came to it, they would lean on me as well.

I've learned a ton about basketball and being a good leader and communicator, but when it comes down to it, uOttawa and my Gee-Gees team have taught me how to be a good person, and that's what will take me the furthest."