The second-leading scorer in WSU women's basketball history is doing something unprecedented when it comes to the history of her team: she's leaving early to turn pro. The school announced today Lia Galdeira is leaving to play professionally in Europe and will then turn her sights on the WNBA.
"I’d like to thank Washington State University for allowing me to be a part of the Cougar family, it has been an honor to represent the women’s basketball program," said Galdeira said in the release. "I am very thankful and blessed for being a part of such an amazing program and playing for one of the most respected and down to earth coaches, June Daugherty, and her staff.
The three-time All Pac-12 player also departs the school near the top of the career table in three pointers made, field goals made and steals. Last season, she led the team with a 20 point per game scoring average, good enough for second in the conference.
For Galdeira, if she believes she can play right now in Europe, this makes plenty of sense. Salaries for women's basketball players across the pond are substantially higher than they are in the domestic league and she'll only have a year of her degree to finish either while she's playing or once she retires.
While it's a big boon for Galdeira, WSU is going to be left scrambling next year. Tia Presley's nearly 17 points per game are gone with graduation and so is Shalie Dheensaw's presence in the low post. Combine the average scoring of the next three players on the list (Cooks, Edmondson, Awa) and you still need a few more to get to Galdeira's 2014-2015 average. The loss of Presley for next season was softened by the presence of Galdeira who can score at will. Without her though, WSU is in deep trouble offensively in 2015-2016.
Best of luck to Lia as she begins her professional career!