Gillespie, Woolfolk sign pro contracts

By Steve Stone

Two-time Florida State Women’s Basketball All-American Kiah Gillespie will begin her professional career in Israel. She recently signed a contract to play for Maccabi Raanana of the Israeli League for the 2020-21 season.

Meanwhile, her former teammate Nausia Woolfolk will begin her professional career playing for Sportiva Ponta Delgada in the Portugal Women’s League. The season is slated to begin in this fall.

The signings of Gillespie and Woolfolk give Florida State women’s basketball 16 active professionals playing overseas or domestically. One of those Seminoles spent her previous season also playing in Israel, as Adut Bulgak played the 2019-20 year with Ramat Gan.

Gillespie racked up the honors in just two seasons with the Seminoles from 2018-20. The Meriden, Conn., native was a two-time All-ACC First Team selection in her only two years with the Seminoles. Only Natasha Howard and Shakayla Thomas join Gillespie as FSU Women’s Basketball Alumnae who earned multiple first-team honors.

In her unfinished senior season, Gillespie put on a show at the ACC Tournament. In FSU’s 62-60 win over top-seeded Louisville, she recorded 15 points and 16 rebounds in the semifinal. In the title game vs. NC State, she delivered 25 points and nine boards.

Her 25 double-doubles in two years was among many of her impressive feats, ranking second in program history with 13 in 2018-19 and following it up with 12 in 2019-20.

Woolfolk, a native of Fort Valley, Ga., finished her storied FSU career in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season. Woolfolk became the third Seminole with 1,000-plus points, 150-plus steals and 100-plus made 3s, joining outstanding Alumnae Courtney Ward and April Traylor.

Sportiva’s current roster features another Atlantic Coast Conference player in Clemson’s Aliyah Collier. The head coach is Ricardo Botelho, who has been with the club since 2014.

The accelerated level of competition could be something that suits Woolfolk very well in her pro career. As a senior at FSU, she led the team with 16.9 points while adding 48 rebounds, 46.7 percent shooting (57-122) and 35.4 percent shooting (17-48) from beyond the arc against top-50 RPI teams in nine games.

Woolfolk also joins fellow senior Nicki Ekhomu as being the only Seminoles to finish their four-year careers undefeated against Florida (4-0) and North Carolina (4-0). In fact, no other Seminole has gone 4-0 against either school, let alone both combined.

The 2020 ACC All-Tournament First Team member progressed each year she played with the Seminoles. In her senior season in 2019-20, she averaged 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, shot 42.3 percent (167-of-195) and drained 31.6 percent (42-of-133) from long distance.

Woolfolk finished her FSU career 13th all-time with 111 3-point field goals made. She also surpassed the 1,000-point mark as a senior, ending up with 1,202.