HAMDEN, Connecticut – Former Quinnipiac women's basketball standout Gillian Abshire (Washington, D.C.) will begin her professional career overseas in Denmark, as the all-time assist leader at Quinnipiac has signed a one-year contract with the Lemvig Basketball Club.
"I am very excited to play professional basketball in Denmark," Abshire said. "Basketball has given me so many opportunities in my life and this is one that I couldn't pass up. I'm also looking forward to playing with high quality players like Nikoline (Ostergaard) and Val (Driscoll) and to be playing in the Danish League against them."
The Washington, D.C. native has inked a deal with Lemvig, who is a member of the Danish Women's Professional League. Abshire will be sure to see plenty of familiar faces in league play as both Nikoline Ostergaard (Vedbaek, Denmark) and Val Driscoll (Stoughton, Massachusetts) have agreed to terms with the Virum Vipers, a team that also plays in the top tiered league in Denmark.
Abshire graduated from Quinnipiac this past May after a stellar four-year career with the Bobcats that included two trips to the NCAA Tournament as well as four straight trips to national postseason tournaments. A 2015 MAAC Second Team selection, Abshire broke out with a sensational senior campaign wherein she started all 35 games averaging 6.4 points with a career-high 40.7 three-point percentage to go along with 6.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and a nation-leading 4.15 assist-turnover ratio.
"It's a great achievement for Boo as well as our program," said Quinnipiac head coach Tricia Fabbri. "Boo's passion for the game was evident when we recruited her and was always on display during her four years at Quinnipiac. She is one of the most dynamic players and leaders I've seen in my years at Quinnipiac and her commitment to the program was unquestioned. Boo was an integral part of the success we've had over the past four years. I know she will have the same impact on her new team, we wish her all the best and we are so excited for her pro career!"
The Bobcats' offense relied heavily on Abshire's playmaking abilities as evidenced in the single-season rankings which saw Abshire turn in the best assist-turnover ratio (4.15) since the NCAA began using the stat in 2007-08. In addition to assist-turnover ratio, Abshire finished 15th in NCAA Div. I in assists per game (6.17), an incredible accomplishment considering she averaged just 23.7 minutes per game which tied for 1,384th in the nation. She also averaged 10.5 assists per 40 minutes (2nd NCAA Div. I) and 45.2 assist rate (2nd NCAA Div. I) which compiles Abshire's percentage of the team's assists while she was on the floor.
Her play at the point guard position was second to none last season as she posted a streak of 148 consecutive minutes without committing a turnover, a streak that lasted over the course of seven games from Feb. 1 – Feb. 22. Abshire also didn't commit a turnover in five straight games from Feb. 7 through Feb. 19. Throughout the season, Abshire didn't commit a turnover in 12 games including a stretch of 9-of-11 in the middle of MAAC play.
Abshire's ball handing and unmatched distributing skills led the Quinnipiac offense all season and helped translate into national success as QU ranked 5th in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.47). Quinnipiac's well-rounded offensive campaign in 2014-15 featured 78.5 points per game (10th NCAA Div. I), 19.6 assists per game (4th NCAA Div. I), 9.2 three-point field goals per game (6th NCAA Div. I) and +14.0 scoring margin (17th NCAA Div. I). The lone remaining program to rank in the Top 20 in the nation in all aforementioned statistics was the 2015 NCAA Champion UConn Huskies.
Many individual career and single-season numbers fell during the 2014-15 campaign as Abshire became the all-time assist leader in Quinnipiac basketball history (men's or women's) with 704 career assists. No player in the history of Quinnipiac was more durable as she started all 134 career games, finishing her four-year stay having never missed a single-game as a Bobcat. She also matched the Quinnipiac single-game program record with 14 assists at Rider on Feb. 26, 2015.
Abshire's transcendent senior year came in a remarkable season for the Bobcats wherein Quinnipiac won the 2015 MAAC Championship with an undefeated record (23-0) against conference opponents. The Bobcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history and the second time in three seasons, earning a program-best No. 12 seed where QU took on No. 5 seed Oklahoma out in Palo Alto, California.
With her announcement, Guastella becomes the fourth 2015 graduate from the Quinnipiac women's basketball program to sign a professional contract. She joins a list that already includes Samantha Guastella (BBC Etzella Ettelbruck – Luxembourg), Ostergaard (Virum Vipers – Denmark) and Driscoll (Virum Vipers – Denmark). These four combine to dwarf the number of QU women's basketball alums to have signed professional contracts before the start of the summer as Ashlee Kelly '04 (Perik Jumpers – Holland) and Brittany McQuain (DJK Brose Bamberg – Germany) were the only other former Bobcats to have played professionally overseas upon graduation.
Abshire's new team – Lemvig – is one of the elite teams in Denmark after having advanced to the semifinal round of the postseason in 2015. Lemvig features USA-born forward Natalie Day (24.6 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 2.3 APG) and guard Joanna Miller (21.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.5 APG) who are two of the most elite talents playing professionally in Denmark. Abshire will be the fifth player on Lemvig with NCAA Div. I experience as the team features players who played collegiately for Cal-Irvine (Miller), San Diego (Emily Hatch), Washington State (Heather Molzen) and UTEP (Claudia Porras).
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