Former Viking to play professional ball in Portugal

Jessica Summers

Aug. 20, 2010

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Former Western Washington University women's basketball player Jessica Summers (Blaine) has signed a contract to play for the GDESSA club team in Barreiro, Portugal. She will leave at the end of September and return in April.

"I'm excited and nervous at the same time," said Summers, who received Women's Basketball Coaches Association and Division II Bulletin All-America honorable mention as a Viking in 2009-10. "It's exciting getting to play against bigger and stronger players, but the language barrier makes it a little bit scary."

GDESSA plays in the top division in Portugal, winning the championship in 2007. Barreiro is located just 15 minutes from Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. To spur interest in her talents, Summers made a highlight film and hired an agent. Besides Portugal, club teams in four other countries expressed interest. They were Finland, Sweden, Slovenia and Slovakia.

"The furthest I have every traveled is to the east coast of the United States," Summers said.

Summers averaged 16.5 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Vikings last season, tying for first among Great Northwest Athletic Conference leaders in rebounds and being second in scoring. She was fourth in field-goal accuracy at 51.2 percent and fifth in blocked shots with a 1.1 average.

A first-team WBCA West Region and GNAC all-star, Summers was named to four regular-season all-tournament teams, being the MVP of three.

The Vikings finished 23-5, placing second in the GNAC and reaching the first round of the NCAA Division II West Regional.

Summers played two seasons at Western after transferring from NCAA I University of Idaho.