There’s a buzz in Northern California this year around the Stanford women’s basketball team.
The Cardinal enter the season ranked No. 3 in the AP preseason poll and had an impressive showing against Team USA in an exhibition match. Stanford fell 95-80 to Team USA, but fans got their first glimpse of freshman Fran Belibi, who became a viral dunking sensation before she became a collegiate student-athlete. Belibi was in the starting lineup for that game and had four points, two assists and two rebounds in her 9 minutes on the floor.
In her first official collegiate career game on Tuesday night, Belibi recored a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in Stanford’s home-opener win over Eastern Washington.
Belibi is just one of Stanford’s freshmen who could make an impact (the squad also has a No. 1 recruit in Haley Jones, who made our list for freshman to watch). Here are five things to know about her as she begins her collegiate career.
She can dunk
Well — you may have known that already since the Colorado native became an internet sensation in high school after many of her slams were shared across social media.
She became the first woman since Candace Parker in 2004 to win the Powerade Jam Fest dunk title at the McDonald’s All-American Game in March 2019.
She also was the first woman ever to dunk in a Colorado high school game. She did it as a sophomore.
Fran Belibi out here dunking over two kids with ease 🔥
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 27, 2019
Oh….and the alley-oop
She had a one-handed dunk on an alley-oop back in January when she was still in high school.
“It was absolutely insane,” Belibi’s high school coach Carl Mattei said. “I had goose bumps.”
She’s only been playing basketball for 4 years
According to her profile on USA Basketball, she picked up basketball in September 2015 as a freshman in high school because she thought it might be fun. The 6-1 center focused on tennis as a child before picking up hoops. In high school she averaged 21.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.4 steals, 2.7 blocks and 2.3 assists as a senior in 2018-19. That same season she recorded 19 double-doubles and one triple-double.
She’s a strong student
She had a 3.99 GPA in high school. According to a feature in The Athletic, she’s planned on being a doctor since she was 4 years old. In addition, both her parents are doctors. Belibi earned academic all-state accolades and was invited to the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists and got a score of 35 on her ACT.
Already has accolades
She has gold medals from 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup and 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The freshman also made Katrina McClain Award watch list, which honors the top power forward in women’s basketball.