HAMDEN, Connecticut – Two former Quinnipiac women's basketball stars will remain teammates for at least one more season as Nikoline Ostergaard (Vedbaek, Denmark) and Val Driscoll (Stoughton, Massachusetts) have signed one-year contracts with the Virum Vipers in Denmark.
Both Ostergaard and Driscoll fielded offers across Europe but the decision to play together in Denmark was ultimately too good to pass on. Ostergaard, a highly skilled 6-foot forward, vastly improved her game over her four-year career with the Bobcats. Driscoll's impact as a 6-4 graduate student transfer from the University of Michigan certainly played a big role in the Bobcats' run to the 2015 MAAC Championship. They'll be joining Virum who'll be moving back into the Danish Women's Professional League after spending the last two seasons playing in the second tier of Danish basketball.
"It's an incredible achievement for our program to see Nik and Val move on together and play professionally overseas," said Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri. "Nikoline's improvement and willingness to get better became more and more obvious as her career continued to progress at Quinnipiac. Playing back in Denmark is something she's had her sights set on for a while and we all believe she will flourish playing for her hometown club team. Val played an integral role in our success this past season and we're very grateful she gave us a chance in her final year of collegiate ball. Not only are we happy to see her move on to play in Europe but for her to do so alongside Nikoline on the same team is another program-first that goes to show the kind of comradery we had on this year's team."
A four-year starter, Ostergaard returns home to the Virum club program wherein she starred before her arrival in Hamden to play on the collegiate level for the Bobcats. Ostergaard's emergence as a full-time starter for the first time in her career helped her earn All-MAAC Third Team honors in 2014-15. Coming into her senior season with just four career starts, Ostergaard blossomed into a breakout star on the way to her first career All-Conference selection.
"I personally always wanted to return to my old club where it all started," Ostergaard said. "I feel like I owe a lot to the club because this is where my love for the game started and where I have developed many of my skills. Val and I are very happy to have the opportunity to be playing professional basketball in Denmark and I'm excited to see what the season brings."
Ostergaard posted new career highs in every major statistical category including minutes, field goals, three-point field goals, free throws, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and points. On the season, Ostergaard averaged 8.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists while shooting 48.3 percent from the floor 39.3 percent from three and 74.4 percent at the line. Her versatility as a 6-foot forward made her one of the most unique players in the nation as she sat 2nd among all forwards in the nation in APG (3.9) as well as 2nd in the assist/turnover ratio (1.94).
One of her crowning achievements last season came in the MAAC Championship as she finished behind only Jasmine Martin with 15 points (4-9 FG, 7-8 FT), six rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes as Quinnipiac defeated Marist, 72-61, at the Times Union Center. Also against Marist in 2014-15, Ostergaard stepped up with a huge 21-point night in Poughkeepsie on 9-for-16 shooting with eight rebounds and two steals in a huge 80-62 road victory.
Driscoll made quite the impact in her only year with the Bobcats as she earned her first career All-Conference accolade by being named to the All-MAAC Second Team. She posted career-high numbers in points (12.5; 9th in MAAC), rebounds (8.0; 3rd in MAAC) and 2.1 blocks (2nd in MAAC) while leading the conference and ranking 13th in the nation in field goal percentage (56.4). Driscoll racked up eight double-doubles on the season including five straight to finish the regular season. Her play garnered two straight MAAC Player of the Week honors heading into the tournament, making her the only player in the MAAC to win consecutive weekly player of the week awards.
"I'm so excited to continue my basketball career in Denmark!" Driscoll said. "I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be playing in another country with not only a former teammate but a friend as well."
With all of Driscoll's accomplishments this past season, one of her most impressive feats was her streak of 24 consecutive made free throws from Feb. 19 – Feb. 26 (four games). The streak highlighted what was a tremendous transformation as she came into the season as a 40 percent career three throw shooter in 56 games at Michigan but in 35 games as a Bobcat the 6-4 center hit 77.3 percent (102-132 FT) of her free throw attempts.
Her imposing play in the middle was a key component to wins all season as the Bobcats went 24-1 in the 25 games in which Driscoll scored 10+ points, with the lone loss coming at then-No. 1 ranked Notre Dame. Her play in the 31 Bobcat victories (13.3 PPG, 57.8 FG%, 8.6 RPG, 2.4 BPG) compared to the four losses (5.8 PPG, 38.1 FG%, 3.0 RPG, 0.0 BPG) was evidence while her +7.5 PPG difference between wins and losses was the largest for any Bobcat on the roster in 2014-15.
With this announcement, Ostergaard and Driscoll join Samantha Guastella to give the Bobcats three Class of 2015 graduates signed professionally. Ostergaard and Driscoll join an exclusive list that includes Guastella, Ashlee Kelly '04 (Holland) and Brittany McQuain '14 (Germany) as the only QU women's basketball alums to play professionally.
The Virum Vipers' addition to the Danish Women's Professional League ups the membership to eight teams playing in Denmark's top tier basketball conference. Ostergaard and Driscoll will be joining a team that is in a major transition coming from the second tier of women's basketball in Denmark and moving up into the premier league. Several talented U-18 players have already signed with Virum including some who played on the Denmark U-18 National Team. The 2015-16 regular season is set to begin in late September with the playoffs culminating in the Finals in April.
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