Flames Still Burning Bright in the Pros|
Dec. 19, 2012
CHICAGO - Two former UIC women’s basketball players are showcasing their talents overseas. Nichole (Muffoletto) Silmon, a 2006 graduate, is playing professionally in Australia, while 2012 graduate Jasmine Bailey is flourishing in her first year in Romania. Both players are incurring a great deal of success in their respective countries.
Silmon began her UIC career as a walk-on in 2004, after transferring from Elgin Community College. While at UIC, Silmon found out she had a heart condition called Wolff Parkinsons White Syndrome and needed an immediate heart procedure. She later returned to the team to finish out her senior year. The Flames took second at the Horizon League Tournament, advancing to the finals for the first time in school history.
After taking a few years off from playing basketball, Silmon played for the Chicago Lady Steam, a WBCBL semi-pro team where her squad finished 6-1 on the season. During the 2011-2012 campaign, she was a member on the Rock County Robbins WBCBL team. She averaged 6.7 points and 10 boards per game, placing her in the top 10 in the WBCBL in rebounding.
Silmon was then brought in to help the fifth-place Ansett squad, an Australian professional club, advance to the playoffs. In only eight regular season games, Silmon helped Ansett go 7-1, as they tied for second place. Ansett won the first round of the playoffs, but lost in the semifinals as Silmon finished the season averaging 20 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and two steals per game.
“As a Flame I was a walk on and my story is not one of all positives, but more of a falling down and getting up,” Silmon said. “You can either sink or swim and my experience at UIC taught me to take just one more step. I needed to lose weight, change to healthier eating and sharpen up some of my skills and never give up.”
(Jasmine) Bailey ended her collegiate career as the program’s third-leading scorer (1,535) and third all-time leading rebounder (1,018). In her senior season, she guided her team to the semifinal round of the Horizon League Tournament for the first time in five years. Accolades during her senior season included First-Team All Horizon League, Horizon League’s All-Tournament Team, All-Defensive Team and was twice named conference Player of the Week.
Now playing professionally in Romania for the BC Sepsi Stanfu Gheorghe basketball team, Bailey is continuing her success. She is currently the leading scorer at 17.5 points per game and second in rebounder with an 8.4 boards per game average.
“The areas I have improved most since college is my shot. I’m becoming more of an outside threat,” said Bailey. “The things I miss most about being a UIC Flame are the atmosphere, my teammates and the fans.”
Silmon hopes to play in Europe this winter, and is looking forward to trying out for the 2013 WNBA Chicago Sky team. For Bailey, she looks to keep her success going with 14 regular season games left to play, and hopefully lead her team to a strong post season.