Zimbabwe-born basketball star Stephanie Mavunga has been named the MVP of Poland’s professional basketball league.
Mavunga has been enjoying a memorable season at Energa Basket Liga Women side Polkowice, playing an important role in their run to the playoffs, where they are on course to reach the semi-finals.
The 1.91m power forward earned MVP honours after averaging 15 points and 4.6 rebounds this season as Polkowic earned a 20-2 record to finish top of the standings during the regular season.
Mavunga shot 63.5 percent overall and 27.3 percent from three-point range while shooting 72.1 percent from the free-throw line.
The 27-year-old power forward, who also won the Polish Cup in February, has been enjoying new lease of life in Europe after recently being released by the WNBA side Indiana Fever last year.
— Energa Basket Liga Kobiet (@BLKpl) March 14, 2022
Mavunga joined Polkowice at the start of the 2021-2022 season after a switch from the Russian league where she featured for Dynamo Kursk.
The Harare-born basketball ace, who moved to the US at a tender age, expressed her delight at the recognition in Poland.
“I keep thinking about just what it is I wanna say, but then I change my mind. I think again… & change my mind again. Truth is, I probably won’t ever be able to put it all into words, but let’s start with one thought: “Blessed!” I’ll never, ever stop thanking God for all he’s done for me and His constant blessings,” Mavunga said in a statement on Instagram.
“Thank you to my team, Polkowice, my coaches and management for taking a chance on me after a tough, rocky season last year. Thank you a million times for believing in me and allowing me to come here and play my game. Thank you to my teammates, because without them, this isn’t even possible. Thank you to all the fans who night in, night out stick by our side, cheering us on and keeping our spirits high. Thank you to the coaches in EBLK for voting for me and giving me something so special in a league full of talented women,” she added.
Mavunga made history four years ago when she became the first Zimbabwean-born player to be drafted in the WNBA.
She was drafted by Indiana in the second round and 14th overall pick of the 2018 draft two very successful seasons each with North Carolina and Ohio State University, which paved the pathway for her progression to the women’s professional basketball league in the US.
Since turning pro, Mavunga has also had successful stints in Europe with Russian sides Enisey Krasnoyarsk and Dynamo Kursk and in France with Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomération. Last month she was signed by the WNBA side Washington Mystics on a training camp contract.
Stephanie is the young sister of Julian who plays for Toyama Grouses in Japan and Jordache, who is a star on the University of Indianapolis team.