Far from home: Lisette Longomo and Emilie Muanandibu moved from Kinshasa to Arizona to play ball. Michael Christopher Brown for Newsweek
After decades of constant warfare, Congo has been ravaged socially and economically. More than half of the country’s population is younger than 17. Many Congolese girls have fallen victim to rape, with the American Journal of Public Health reporting that, at one point, four women were being raped every five minutes in the country. With the average household income hovering around $230 a year, some Congolese girls have turned to prostitution, in a trend called phenomen tshiell, Lingala for the “whore phenomenon.” All of this adds up to a deeply rooted desire to leave the country, by any means necessary.
In search of better lives, Lisette Longomo and Emilie Muanandibu used their basketball talents to escape war-torn Congo.
Click here to read more of their heartfelt story (HT to Sarah M. Kazadi)
South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley waves her pieces of the net after her team beat Mississippi State 67-55 to win the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Getty Images
Dawn Staley has been South Carolina’s women’s basketball coach for nine years. She has led the team to four straight Southeastern Conference regular-season titles and three consecutive SEC Tournament crowns. On April 2, 2017 the Gamecocks topped Mississippi State 67-55 to win the program’s first national title.
Carolyn Peck, the first African American coach to win an NCAA women’s championship game gave Staley a piece of the net she cut down with Perdue. Staley kept it in her wallet, and it was with her when the Gamecocks won the title.
“I plan on doing the same thing that [Peck] did for me,” said Staley. “I want my piece of net to be an inspiration for someone else to win the championship.” (undefeated.com)
In honor of the historic win, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin announced that head coach Dawn Staley will have a part of a downtown street named after her.