Western Nebraska Community College's Giovanna Silva will be taking her basketball talents from the Nebraska Panhandle to Eastern Nebraska after signing with Peru State College on Thursday evening at WNCC.
Silva found Peru State a perfect fight for her after visiting the college last week.
"I went on a visit and really liked the campus. It is a small town kind of like Scottsbluff and the people there were very welcoming," Silva said. "They are good academically and they are going to have a good team next year and I am excited to go there."
Silva's journey to the four-year level has been one of improvement. Coming to WNCC from Brazil where she knew very little English to now is a testament of hard work. Silva will walk across the stage at the WNCC commencement ceremonies on Saturday having grown as a player and person while being a Cougar.
"Coming to Scottsbluff was the first time coming to the United States and leaving Brazil," she said. "Coming over to the United States and playing at such a high level of going to nationals for two years in a row is so amazing.
"It was definitely hard leaving home by myself and me not knowing English. I struggled with that a lot. But it was not an opportunity that I could not take. It was amazing. My dorm family helped me a lot. My teammates helped me a lot at the beginning. I was home sick at the beginning, people from the United States get home sick being away from their family and friends."
In Silva's two years at WNCC, she has been a starter, averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. It is the improvement she made between her freshman and sophomore years that shines. Silva averaged just four points and shot 42 percent from the field. Her sophomore year, Silva averaged 9.4 points and shot 51 percent from the field. Silva helped the Cougars to two straight NJCAA national tournament appearances.
Silva said she has improved a ton in those two seasons and a lot goes to head coach Chad Gibney.
"He definitely helped me a lot, especially finding me a good school to go to," she said. "I really liked what he did for me, especially in working out and trying to make me better as a player and knowing more about the game."
Overall, Silva can't complain about what WNCC meant to her. It was a fantastic two years.
"It was a great two seasons here, going to nationals and winning a regional title. It is amazing and I grew up a lot as a player and a person," she said. " It definitely will be hard leaving here. I had great moments here at WNCC and I will miss every single one. I will miss every single person in this room and you definitely mean something to me. It will be really hard leaving.
"I just want to thank my teammates and coaching staff; you really made me grow as a player and of course as a person. Then, of course, my dorm family. They really helped me a lot when I got here. Thanks everyone."