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Cambodian-American basketball star joins Westcliff

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Jasmine Kong in action against Ventura in the CCCAA tournament. Cambodia-Basketball

Jasmine Kong, a budding Cambodian-American basketball star, is joining the basketball programme at Westcliff University.

The Westcliff University Women’s Basketball recently announced via its official Facebook page that the star guard is now a Warrior. “Join us in welcoming Jasmine Kong to the Westcliff Family,” it stated.

Kong herself confirmed the reports with her own Facebook post. “I have officially signed to Westcliff University,” she excitedly announced.

Founded in 1993, Westcliff University is a private, for-profit school in California. The Westcliff women’s basketball team plays in the Pac-6 Conference.

Prior to joining Westcliff, Kong played for the Diablo Valley College (DVC) women’s basketball team, where her outside shooting played a critical role in the team’s success in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA).

In her first season with DVC (2018-2019), Kong, who played the guard position, immediately made an impact, averaging 11.7 points on 41.2 field goal percentage. In 16 games, Kong also averaged 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.

Kong, who mostly played off the bench that season, was particularly effective and made a big impact from outside the rainbow territory, where she made 34.1 percent of her attempts.

Her diligence and shooting acumen did not go unnoticed. The following season (2019-2020), she progressed to become the starting guard for DVC.

In her second season with DVC, Kong averaged 11.3 points on a 34.3 field goal percentage.

While her scoring and field goal percentage slightly dropped from the previous year, Kong’s importance to the team did not diminish. In fact, it was Kong’s three-point shooting that helped DVC come back from a 16-point first half deficit to stun Moorpark College in the state championship game.

Ramaundo Vaughn, the coach of DVC, praised her in an article published in The Inquirer, school’s student publication.

“As a player, [she] is gifted offensively and has a very natural ability to score the basketball,” Vaughn said. “She is athletic and aggressive and is never afraid to take a big shot.”

It was Vaughn who first recruited Kong to DVC after seeing her potential as a baller.

Kong’s teammates describe her as an easygoing, yet determined, player who often sparked their team to victory.

“Jasmine is incredibly vital. So many times when we were struggling as a team, she was the spark that got us going and really in some cases kept us alive,” teammate and tournament MVP Zahria Hendrix said in the same article.

“I know for a fact that without Jasmine we wouldn’t have won that state championship game and we definitely would’ve lost more than one game,” she added.

In high school, Kong played for the women’s varsity team at Arroyo High School.

Kong, whose Cambodian parents immigrated to the United States as refugees in the 1980s, is among several Cambodian-American female athletes who are making strides in the American sports scene. The others on the list include taekwondo star Casandre Nicole Tubbs and Jiu-Jitsu prodigy Jessa Khan.

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