Alumna Realizes Dream of Playing Pro Basketball in Europe

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The Florida valedictorian is now playing for the Swedish Visby Ladies.
Taylor Wencis plays for the Visby Ladies. (Photo taken by Camilla Munthe.)

Taylor Wencis plays for the Visby Ladies. (Photo taken by Camilla Munthe.)

November 20, 2012

Predicted as her new coach's 'extended arm and executor on the court,' Northwood University Florida alumna Taylor Wencis is realizing her dream of playing professional basketball on the Swedish Island of Gotland by serving as point guard and 'team organizer' for the Visby Ladies, a team in "Damligan" which is the top league in Sweden.

Having traveled a winding path to Sweden, the Northwood Florida valedictorian had been close to playing professionally in Europe before. She had a two-week tryout in Sicily in December 2011 for Priolo, a first division Italian team, and was offered a contract, but shared that it wasn't the right contract or time for her. "I had a few setbacks in finding teams because there were times when I thought I was leaving for Europe and then a few days before I was supposed to fly out, the teams pulled out of the contracts due to monetary issues. This road has been a long one for me but I told myself I would never give up and I'm so glad I didn't," she reflected.

And part of that journey included returning to Dallas, Texas the town in which she first moved when she was 11 and attended high school. Happy to be near her boyfriend Jay Duncan, a Northwood alumnus who works for Coach Larry Brown at Southern Methodist University (SMU), she quickly tried out for the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League (WBCBL) team Dallas Diesel and made the roster.

And it was connections she made on that team that put her one step closer to her dream of playing in Europe.

"Our team was ranked top 10 in the nation and we went to Nationals in Miami, Florida in August. I played well there and was able to get updated game film. My Coach then got me in contact with my current teammate Michele Miller's coach, Lucius Jones of the Columbus Hidden Gems, and Lucius sent my film and stats to the Visby Ladies. The rest is history. I cried tears of joy when I was offered the role on the team," said Wencis who is of Italian and Polish descent. "This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It's not just about playing basketball, I want to enjoy the whole experience of living abroad," she said.

Wencis graduated from Northwood University Florida as the 2010 Valedictorian and was invited to address the crowd as the University's featured graduate. Born in Norton, Massachusetts, and having majored in Hotel, Restaurant and Resort Management, she credits her parents with her academic and athletic success. "My parents, Denise and Steven Wencis, are credited with more than just giving birth to me. They have inspired me to become the person I am today. They are the most positive people in my life and have motivated me to want to succeed in everything I do. Regardless of the situation, my parents will always believe in me and support me, and for that I am eternally grateful.

She earned an outstanding academic record at Northwood University being named to the Dean's List or President's List every term, while serving on the Student Government Association (SGA), as a student mentor, and in numerous campus community service projects. In addition, she was a very successful athlete, being named the Lady Seahawks Basketball Team's starting point guard and team co-captain in her junior and senior years, and accumulating many athletic honors including Academic All-Conference, Team MVP, First Team All-Conference and Sun Conference Player of the Week.

Wencis left her mark on the Northwood Women's Basketball program, achieving various career and season records. She is Northwood's Women's Basketball (maybe say she is the Lady Seahawks') second leading scorer, all-time, with 916 points in 123 games, and she owns women's basketball school records for career assists and steals, with 483 and 254, respectively. Taylor was one of the best shooters to come through the doors of Northwood, netting a women's basketball record 305 field goals over four seasons, shooting a record 79.8 percent from the floor. She also owns the women's basketball season-highs in field goals made (103), assists (176), and steals (78), all achieved during her efforts in the 2008-2009 season.