Women’s Basketball welcomed three new players to this season’s roster, but one of the additions brings international experience to Richmond from her home country of Belarus.
“I’m looking forward to trying to win as many games as we can and continue to improve as a basketball player,” said freshman forward Kseniya Malashka.
Malashka brings an extensive background from Belarus as she competed in the FIBA U18 European Championships and U16 Women’s European Championship, Division A.
Malashka, who has played basketball her entire life, said she started playing on the international level early-on. “We always played some tournaments against different European countries,” Malashka said. “But my first major tournament for Belarus was the European championship in 2015. I was named MVP of the tournament.”
In the 2015 tournament, Malashka averaged 14.5 points per game with 11.9 rebounds, earning MVP honors. She also distributed the ball to her teammates as she averaged 4.5 assists per game.
Malashka was also named MVP of the 2018 U18 tournament as she led her team to the championship game averaging 20.5 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Belarus went home with a silver medal in the tournament this past summer as the team fell to Lithuania 86-71. Malashka logged 17 points, 15 rebounds and three assists in the loss.
“[Malashka] is a very talented player who has a multi-faceted skill set,” Women’s Basketball head coach Beth O’Boyle told VCU Athletics. “She can score off the bounce, from deep behind the arc and with her back to the basket. I’m looking forward to [Malashka] bringing her high-level international playing experience and her great passion for the game to our program.”
Malashka also competed in gymnastics and swimming as a child in Belarus.
Freshman forward Lauryn Thompson joins Malashka as the only other freshman on the roster this season. The Texas native averaged 10 points and six rebounds her junior year at Timberview High School. She was also named to the First Team 14-5A All-District twice in her high school career.
The last addition to the women’s team, junior guard Te’Kayla Tassin, transferred to VCU from Jones County Junior College in Mississippi this season. Tassin played all 32 games last season at the junior college level. She averaged 10.3 points and 2.6 assists for the Bobcats.