Playing overseas a “dream come true” for Stelfox

GVL / Robert Mathews
Alex Stelfox

GVL / Robert Mathews Alex Stelfox

Jay Bushen

Alex Stelfox had long dreamt of the day when she would go from student-athlete to professional athlete.

That day finally came last week when Stelfox, a four-year starter for the Grand Valley State University women’s basketball team, agreed to terms with TG Sandhausen, a professional team in Germany.

The former GLIAC Freshman of the Year was a standout for GVSU from 2009-2013, starting in 97 games while averaging 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Her 120 blocked shots rank as the fourth-most in school history.

Her distinguished career as a Laker didn’t guarantee her a spot at the next level, however, leaving Stelfox unsure if she would be able to pursue her dream of continuing her basketball career overseas.

“I had my hopes up,” she said. “I was pretty excited when the summer began, but through July I wasn’t receiving any offers. I was starting to wonder if it was going to happen.”

The 6-foot-2 center from Bowie, Md., eventually received an offer from a pro team in Romania earlier in the month, but declined after going over the details with her agent.

She also drew interest from a number teams in Latvia and Portugal, but when her agent told her about a “reliable and very interested” TG Sandhausen squad, her plans were finalized.

Stelfox was ecstatic. “I’ve worked my whole life to reach this level,” she said. “It’s a dream come true.”
While interning for the women’s basketball team at the University of Maryland over the summer, she continued to improve while joining in on some of the team’s pick-up games.

Stelfox, who missed the last 12 games of the 2011-2012 season with an ACL tear, said the injury slowed her down during her senior campaign, but her knee has never felt better. She now plays comfortably without a knee brace.

“This is the one thing she’s always wanted,” said former teammate Briauna Taylor, who started alongside Stelfox in each of their four seasons at GVSU. “Nothing can slow her down. She’s just a competitor, she’s got that fire.”

As a Laker, she not only made her presence felt as a shot-blocker, but also as an efficient offensive weapon. She closed out her career with the fourth-highest shooting percentage in school history (52 percent) and became the 22nd player in school history to tally 1,000 or more career points.

GVSU head coach Janel Burgess said Stelfox’s unique offensive style should suit her well overseas.
“Alex is such a unique player. We knew that from the time we recruited her,” Burgess said. “Her style of play is very European­—fluently finesse around the basket. It’s a great opportunity for her and I know she can excel, most definitely.”

Stelfox plans to move to Germany by the end of the month to prepare for the upcoming season.
“She’s just over the moon right now,” Taylor said.