Alaska's only woman playing pro basketball is about to become an Australian.
Kelsey Griffin, a Chugiak graduate who was the No. 3 pick in the 2010 WNBA draft, will became an Australian citizen Sunday in Bengido, Australia, where she plays for the Bendigo Spirit.
The Australian sports website theage.com reported this week that Griffin's citizenship ceremony will take place at Bendigo Stadium following a Spirit game.
Griffin, a 6-foot-2 forward, joined the Spirit three years ago and quickly became a star. She has helped the team to two Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) titles.
"Becoming a citizen is so important to me because I will no longer need to apply for visas to stay in the country that feels like home," Griffin, 28, told theage.com.
"I have created a life here that I absolutely love, and to know that without a doubt I will be able to stay here for the rest of my life is so exciting.
"My home is here, my partner is here, and I even have a dog here. It's exciting that I know I get to stay here."
As a citizen, Griffin will become eligible to attend national-team camps, meaning she could contend for a spot on Australia's Olympic team next summer. "(S)he faces a tough task to win a highly coveted place in the side for the Rio Olympics," according to the report by theage.com.
Through nine games this season, Griffin is averaging 16 points and nine rebounds for Bendigo.
A college star for Nebraska, Griffin played five seasons with the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA. The Sun waived her this summer after season-ending hip surgery.
Only two Alaskans have played in the WNBA – Griffin and Colony graduate Jessica Moore, who after a stellar college career at UConn played nine seasons in the WNBA from 2005-13.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing