Former Calera star signs with Australian professional basketball team

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Former Calera High School girls’ basketball standout Shanavia Dowdell recently signed a professional basketball contract with the Townsville Fire of the Women’s National Basketball League, the premier league for women’s basketball in Australia.

Dowdell, who has spent time in training camp with the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Washington Mystics and San Antonio Silver Stars since graduating from Louisiana Tech University in 2010, will serve her second tour overseas after playing in France last year.

“I get to get to play against some of the elite players in Australia,” Dowdell said. “It gives me an opportunity to see another part of the world. My goal is to continue playing professionally, and if that is overseas, then I’m okay with doing that.”

The two-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year during her playing days at Louisiana Tech is set to join the franchise in early September. The season opens in early October.

Fire coach Chris Lucas said he knows what his team has added with the signing of the 6-foot-2 power forward.

“Shanavia has proven in the NCAA and in France that she is a high-quality player capable of scoring and controlling the paint on defense,” Lucas said. “As well as being a great scorer and rebounder, Shanavia is a versatile defender who can guard a range of positions and opposing stars in this league. Across the floor we have an athletic team and that will allow us to get up and down the court and play some entertaining basketball.”

During her senior year at Louisiana Tech, Dowdell averaged 18 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, ranking in the top five in the nation in rebounding. Dowdell was drafted in the second round of the 2010 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics before moving to France for one season, where she starred for France LBF side Toulouse Metropole Basket.

Dowdell is one of two former Shelby County basketball standouts playing professionally. Former Shelby County High School boys’ basketball star Bobby Madison currently plays in Portugal.