Basketball has been a platform for growth for many women, such as Jacqueline Luna-Castro, who is preparing to continue his adventure on the European continent and try to win more titles.
After a complicated year by the pandemic and a brief step with the Bembibre, in the Endesa Women’s League of Spain, things seem to be improving for the national team, who will play in Lithuania with the Kibirkstis Vici of Vilna, a city with a tradition on the court and that is experiencing a great moment with this team, which was founded in 1961 and is enjoying a second golden age in women’s sports.
“I am super grateful because this year has been very difficult for everyone in life, but also in sports; back then, there weren’t many opportunities … usually more contracts come out and having a good contract like this was an easy decision for me, « he said to MILLENNIUM–Hobby, Luna-Castro, who at 27 joins Francisco Pako Cruz (Vilnius Rytas) and Alejandro Pérez Kauffman (Žalgiris Kaunas) as the only tricolor to play in this League of the Baltic country.
The challenge for Jax, as it is known, is to compete in three leagues and seek to emerge victorious in all: the Lithuanian Women’s Basketball League (LMKL), the Baltic League against local clubs, from Estonia and Latvia, as well as the European Basketball League. Women (EWBL), which she believes will help her face the old world elite and continue to grow as a professional basketball player.
« I am very happy for the opportunity, because the team plays in three different leagues, one in the country, and another two where they play against teams from different countries, so that will help me a lot to play against the best teams from different countries », assured. « I would like to play well (here in Lithuania) and have a season where I can reach a good level both physically and tactically. »
It started at 8 years old
The player, who works as a power forward, began to play at the age of eight at the initiative of her parents and already has a long history on the court, with training in the United States University League (NCAA), with the University of California Santa Bárbara between 2011 and 2013, in addition to two more seasons with the University of Charleston (2014-2016).
« I loved it. I have always been very tall and finding a sport in which being tall is very good, it is something that I liked a lot and although as a young man I was very shy, this helped me to meet many sports people, many friends and from there I didn’t stop playing ”, he recalled.
His first professional experience occurred in mid-2016 with Soles de Ojinaga, a team that competes in the Chihuahua State League, making the leap to Europe for a season with Kouvottaret of Finland and a pair with Esperides Kalliotheas of Greece, in addition in one step with the Australian Goald Coast Rollers and the Santurce Cangrejeras, in Puerto Rico.
Having won runners-up in the oceanic country and on the Caribbean island, Jacqueline’s idea is clear: to be a fundamental piece with the Kibirkstis Vici to conquer Lithuania, both in the Balkan competition and in the European competition.
“I hope that we win all the championships, that at least we win many games, because that is a super competitive League, with very good teams from Russia and other countries. What I want, first of all, is for the team to win and for us to enjoy it a lot, « he said.
By playing against some of the best players in the world, Jacqueline Luna-Castro He does not see a ceiling in his aspirations and continues to aim for the highest, betting on his youth and the good moment in which he is to aspire one day to reach the WNBA (the most important women’s league in the world), play the Euroleague and classify some Olympic Games.
“I’m working a lot on my game, trying to change what I can do, my style, I want to be able to dribble better, handle the ball better and defend better… this summer I took a lot of time to focus on that and be stronger. I hope to raise my level every year ”.