The number of players from New South Wales playing in the Pac-12 Conference is set to increase with Jasmine Simmons’ announcement of her verbal commitment to join Oregon State in 2018. With Sara Anastasieska set to commence playing at California in 2017 and Danijela Milisic continuing at USC, the strongest conference in women’s college basketball will soon feature three players from NSW as part of an Australian contingent that will stretch across no less than seven of the conference’s twelve schools.
Hailing from the town of Gol Gol on the banks of the Murray, just a stone’s throw from Mildura, Simmons has long been earmarked as one of NSW basketball’s brightest prospects. The NSW Country star’s obvious talent was on show at the 2016 FIBA Under 17 World Championship, where Simmons led the Australian team to a gold medal. The Sapphires went undefeated throughout the competition, and also handed the much-vaunted United States team its first loss in the history of the tournament in the semi-finals.
Simmons averaged 11 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game in that tournament to earn a nomination as one of Australia’s three players in the tournament’s all-star five alongside Monique Conti and Ezi Magbegor. Simmons capped her outstanding week in Spain with a dominant 14 point, 12 rebound performance in the final as the Sapphires routed Italy 62-38 to bring the gold medal back to Australia. Simmons also dished out six assists in the Sapphires’ 73-60 semi-final win over the United States. Exhibiting a range of skills, Simmons’ vision, athleticism, and ability to get to the basket were on show throughout the tournament.
Simmons will be joining Oregon State at an exciting time in the program’s history. Coach Scott Rueck has turned the Beavers from one of the bottom-feeders in the Pac-12 to a national powerhouse, with the team reaching the Final Four in 2016 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2017. The list of outstanding players produced by Oregon State is growing as well, with WNBA players Sydney Wiese, Jamie Weisner, and Ruth Hamblin all coming through the program in recent years. In recent weeks, Rueck has captured the commitment of Maryland freshman star Destiny Slocum, who chose to transfer despite an outstanding freshman season with the Terrapins. Slocum will commence playing for Oregon State in 2018, and the idea of Slocum and Simmons linking up in their first year with the program is certainly an exciting one.