HANOVER, N.H. – Two former members of the Dartmouth women’s basketball team are continuing their journey in the sport playing professionally overseas.
Roland plays for Roannais Basket Feminine in the NF1 French League, the third-level league in France. While playing in another country is an opportunity she is not letting go of, and she has hopes to make it back state-side to play in the WNBA, Roland is seeing the challenges of playing on a non-English speaking team.
“I am the only American, but I have a Russian teammate who is able to translate and another English-speaking teammate who lives in the same building as me,” Roland said. “Basketball systems and processes are the same wherever you go, and they are intuitive if you know the game.”
This is Roland’s first season playing professionally, as last year she was studying at Durham University in the United Kingdom.
Szabo is also in Europe, playing for Aluinvent DVTK in Miskolc, Hungary. Aluinvent plays in the Eurocup, the Hungarian League and the Hungarian Cup, and so far this season the team is 2-1 in the Hungarian League.
Similar to Roland’s experience in France, Szabo is playing alongside teammates from Hungary as well as Latvia and the Czech Republic, and there is another American player on the team as well.
This is Szabo’s first season playing in Hungary, and she reflected on how her time playing for the Big Green helped her to this point.
“The coaching staff and my teammates at Dartmouth prepared me well to be able to compete at this level,” Szabo said. “Professional basketball can be challenging, but I am confident that the experiences I had playing for Dartmouth women’s basketball will help me overcome any obstacles.”
While both are playing professionally, Roland sees the opportunity to play in America on that level as something that can be reached by using her base of Big Green family to get there.
“This is the first time I’ve been paid to play basketball, so the competition is better and expectations are higher, but I’m focused on making progress every day,” Roland said. “This experience has been and will continue to be challenging, but my eyes are set for the WNBA. I know I have a strong support system in Hanover that I can lean on whenever I need some love.”
Roland graduated from Dartmouth in 2016 before traveling to Durham University for her master’s degree, from there she joined Roannais Basket Feminine. Szabo’s move to Hungary followed her 2017 graduation, the Budapest native had spent time playing for the Budapest Sport Club and other squads in her home country.
Szabo finished her time playing for Dartmouth last season by winning the Gail Koziara ’82 Most Valuable Player Award after finishing as the 10th all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,295 career points and 11th all-time in steals with 179, among other high career stats.