UC Davis sharpshooter Nina Bessolo has become the latest Aggie to join the European professional ranks, inking a deal with AS Niki Lefkadas in Greece’s top division, the club announced on Wednesday.
Bessolo, who graduated with a degree in American Studies, is currently listed as one of two Americans on the squad, joining guard Samantha Mackay, who played collegiately at Dayton and transferred to the club after playing last season with Panathinaikos. Bessolo follows in the footsteps of UC Davis women’s basketball alumnae Morgan Bertsch (Pszczolka AZS-UMCS Lublin, Poland), Pele Gianotti (T71 Basket Dudelange, Luxembourg), and Katie Toole (RACA Granada, Spain), in Europe for the upcoming campaign.
One of five players to be a part of four consecutive conference titles in the history of the program, the Hayward, Calif., native helped lead the Aggies to their fourth Big West Conference regular season title in 2019-20, averaging 8.9 points and 2.3 rpg while ranking tied for third on the team with 35 three-pointers made.
A preseason All-Big West pick last season after earning an all-conference honorable mention nod as a junior, Bessolo finished in double figures seven times, including her second career 20-point performance against William Jessup on New Year’s Day when she finished with 20 points and a season high six rebounds in 23 minutes against the Warriors.
Bessolo’s best season came as a junior, averaging 9.0 ppg and scoring a career-high 287 points overall while helping UC Davis to a Big West regular season title, Big West Tournament crown, and NCAA Tournament berth, finishing the year shooting .402 from the field overall and 35 percent from beyond the arc on 56 made from long range.
She finished her career ranked 10th on the school’s career Division I list for field goals made, ninth in career three-pointers, and ninth in blocked shots.
A Greek Cup Finalist and a Greek League Semifinalist in 2019, AS Niki Lefkadas finished sixth in the Greek A1 League in 2019-20 with a 9-11 record, just missing out on the four-team playoffs.
– Jason Spencer