October 5, 2007
Former hoopster Diawara qualifies for 2008 Olympics
The 6-foot-6 center played for the Hokies from 2003-07, and as a result of the championship win, Mali will get to represent the continent of Africa next summer in Beijing. Mali knocked off the host country of Senegal, 63-56, in the title game to punch its ticket to China.
“We are extremely excited for Nare,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenbeger said. “She worked extremely hard during her four years at Virginia Tech and improved as much as any player who ever wore a Hokie uniform. Her lifelong goal has always been to represent her country in the Olympics. I'm so happy that her dream has become a reality.”
Diawara is a starter on the team, and in a quarterfinal defeat of Cameroon, she tallied 11 points to go with six rebounds and two assists. She followed that up in the semifinals against Angola with totals of 12 points, seven rebounds and one block. Her younger sister, Djene, made the all-tournament team and was named the event’s best rebounder.
Diawara averaged 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game over four seasons in Blacksburg, but made outstanding progress as a senior when she averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game to go with 53 blocks, which is the seventh-best single-season total in Tech history.
She was drafted in the third round of the 2007 WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars, but will spend the 2007-08 season playing for Division I Mondeville in France.
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