The Japanese-American Basketball Beauty Queen Darling of L.A.

The biggest thing this average-sized girl from USC wants and hopes for is a place on the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks roster. Her name is Jamie Hagiya; and if you followed American women’s college basketball a few years back, you know that this Japanese-American former point guard for USC has formidable basketball skills. And with these skill she helped the lady Trojans win three consecutive Ocean League titles, established USC records in three-point goals and assists, and helped get her team to the NCAA tournament twice. Now, after graduating college and playing for a professional women’s basketball team in Greece for a couple of years, Hagiya is back in L.A. and has her sights set on the WNBA’s Sparks. Her plan is simple and sensible: Attend the Sparks’ open try-outs next year, perform brilliantly, and earn a place on the team. What she has going for her are her top-notch roundball skills, and the considerable moral support of the Japanese-American community in L.A.What’s going against her, however, is her size. For real life, her 5-foot-4-inch frame is perfect. For WNBA basketball, it isn’t exactly ideal. In fact, her height was the primary reason the WNBA didn’t recruit Hagiya after she graduated USC. Still, no one denies that Hagiya has mad skills and a determined heart. And until the Sparks’ open try-outs next year, she continues to organize and host basketball camps for kids, passing on her love of the game and the skills she developed playing it. We will keep following her story and rooting for her to become only the second Japanese-American to play in the WNBA. Small woman, huge dreams. And that’s as American as it gets. (Rafu Shimpo – Sparks Are in Jamie Hagiya’s Eyes)