Former IU women’s forward Sinclair heads to China

The next stop in former Indiana women’s basketball player Aulani Sinclair’s hope to play professionally is taking her east.

The Far East, that is.

Sinclair will travel to China this week as part of the NetScouts USA Women’s All-Star Basketball Team. The squad, which is comprised of college players and recent graduates from around the nation, will play 11 games in two weeks against the likes of the Chinese National B Team, the Australia Rising Opals and the Hungary National Team, among others.

For Sinclair, an Eminence native who graduated from IU this spring, the two-week barnstorming run could help her land a contract playing professionally overseas. Sinclair has already hired an agent and said she hopes to have a better understanding of her professional prospects when she returns to the United States on July 1.

“At these games, coaches from overseas teams will be watching and there’s always a chance that a coach could see me play and offer me,” Sinclair said. “I’m really just trying to compete for my country. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity to go. I’m so excited.”

Indiana assistant coach Brandi Poole helped Sinclair land a spot on the team after approaching her this spring to gauge her interest in the trip. Sinclair was game from the beginning, and she’ll leave today to join the second wave of American college all-stars to make the trip to China.

Sinclair is one of a handful of Big Ten players to earn invitations. Michigan’s Kate Thompson, Iowa’s Morgan Johnson and Purdue’s Sam Ostarello were part of the first flight of players to play in China. Sinclair will be joined on this trip by fellow Big Ten standout Nikki Greene, of Penn State.

“I know Kate from the 3-point shootout I did (at the Final Four in April),” Sinclair said. “She said it’s a great experience. She loved it and told me all great things about it, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a lot of good competition.”

Sinclair led the Hoosiers in scoring this past season, averaging 15.5 points per game and taking home All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors. She won the State Farm 3-point Championship in Atlanta during this year’s Final Four.

A natural shooter, Sinclair became the 23rd player in program history to score 1,000 career points. Now, she’s using that shooting stroke to take her far beyond Bloomington.

“This tour is a wonderful opportunity for Aulani,” Indiana coach Curt Miller said in a statement. “She had a great senior year and earned the right to be included on this outstanding team that will tour China. There is no doubt that this experience will continue to open doors for Aulani’s professional playing career.”

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