“The Intersection of Gender, Community, and Sports”
According to the Senegalese electronic news paper 'Rewmi' , Astou Ndiaye, is one of the greatest basketball players of the history of the game in Senegal. Since the beginning of her career in Senegal, Astou has played at the highest level of the game in the US and Europe. She played in the WNBA, Italy, France, Brazil, Russia, Spain and many other countries where she won several champion titles.
Astou started playing in 1986, at the age 13, in her birth country of Senegal. Four to five years later she was selected to play with the "Lionnes" the national women basketball team of Senegal with whom she won 3 African championships over a 15 years span. After she finished high school, Astou received a full athletic scholarship to play intercollegiate Basketball at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in business from SNU she was drafted in the 2nd round of the now defunct ABL (American Basketball League) and started her professional career with the Seattle Reign in the state of Washington by the fall of 1998. Her European career started a year later, in 1999, with Montpellier in the French League.
She was drafted to the WNBA in the summer of 1999 by the Detroit Shock in the second round and was the 22nd pick overall. She also played for Schio near Vicenza in the Italian first League during the 2001-02 WNBA off-seasons. She then spent five years with the Detroit Shock. In April of 2003 she became mother of triplets and won the highly coveted world championship with the Detroit in September of the same year.
Astou spent the 2004 season with the Indiana Fever and the 2006 season with the Houston Comets. She joined Utah State coaching staff after playing her last European season with Napoli Basket Vomero (Naples, Italy) and part of the summer of 2007 with WNBA franchise Seattle Storm ending her professional career in the city of Seattle where she started it almost a decade before.
Astou Ndiaye-Diatta also played in the Sydney 2000 Olympic game and participated in four FIBA World Championships with the Senegalese National Team in Malaysia, Germany, China & Brazil respectively in 1990,1998,2002, and 2006.
Astou's basketball achievements occurred along a family life and working (along with her husband and other former Senegalese athletes) to give back to youth in Africa through a nonprofit she created in 2004 named AOAAD (African Organization for Academic & Athletic Development) with the purpose of reducing illiteracy in Africa which is caused by poverty and a lack of continued mentoring. The organization is promoting health education and leadership through sports in Africa.
Astou is an example of multiple dimension and localization of an African athlete. During her address at the upcoming Sports in Africa conference, she will discuss with the Ohio University community challenges and success in bridging an athletic career, studies and raising a family for a woman born in a predominantly Muslim society of Sub-Saharan Africa. She and her husband, Ousmane, have triplets, Boubacar, Bineta and Ndiasse.