Emma-Nnopu putting in the hard work

Original Article can be found at the Geelong Advertiser HERE

ANTONIETTE Emma-Nnopu is looking to follow in her sister’s footsteps, with the goal of gaining a place on a basketball team at a US College when she finishes Year 12 this year.

Two years older than Antoinette, Agnes Emma-Nnopu is currently at Stanford University,

where she won an NCAA National Championship just a few months ago.

The girls grew up together and started playing domestic basketball in Tasmania, before the family moved to Victoria in 2009.

Antoniette Emma-Nnopu competes for the ball against Waverley Falcons earlier this season. Picture: Mike Dugdale
Antoniette Emma-Nnopu competes for the ball against Waverley Falcons earlier this season. Picture: Mike Dugdale

“We like to have a bit of a competition,” Antoniette said.

“She’s coming home (from college) soon, so we’ll be going to stadiums and shooting with each other.

“We help each other improve – I’ll help her by rebounding, putting pressure on her, playing one-on-one. It helps us both.”

With her role at the Geelong Supercats elevated from bench player to starting five after

several injuries and player unavailability, Antoniette still looks to her sister for advice.

“Every game Agnes will ask me how I went, she will watch the game and tell me what I need to improve, I take that on board,” Antoniette said.

When first signed to the team at the start of the year, Antoinette’s goals were to improve

her basketball, prove herself with the team at training sessions and progress in her goal to get to US College.

Not expecting to see much court time, she was just happy to be involved with the senior team and learn from more experienced players.

With a heavy guard roster, Antoniette quickly found herself in the starting line-up for the

Supercats and taking on more responsibility in games.

“I was very nervous at the start, but I just continued to work on playing against the taller players – I’m not that tall but just had to show my strength. I can beat them strength wise.”

Antoniette Emma-Nnopu takes a rebound. Picture: Mark Wilson
Antoniette Emma-Nnopu takes a rebound. Picture: Mark Wilson

Her strength and ability to score second chance points have proven invaluable for the

Supercats, with Antoniette improving week by week, notching double doubles in points and rebounds in the last two games played.

She has also come up with some big defensive plays in important games and leads the team in blocked shots.

With her eyes set on US College, Antoniette is looking forward to resuming the NBL1 season to add to her game tape for college scouts, although she will not be looking to join Agnes at Stanford.

“She can have her own shine, and I’ll have mine at another college,” laughs Antoniette.

A revised fixture is currently being drafted by the NBL1, with competition hoped to resume next weekend pending further announcements on metropolitan Melbourne COVID-19 restrictions.