|Nika Baric was voted the Young Women's Player of the Year by European fans and experts alike|
FIBA Europe announced on Friday that Nika Baric of Slovenia is the winner of the 2010 Young Women's Player of the Year award.
Baric was named the winner by both the public and an expert panel vote. Players born in 1990 or later were eligible for the award.
The 1.69m point guard's impressive ball handling and sharp shooting made her an instant fan favourite at the U18 European Championship Women last summer and an absolute nightmare for opposing defenders.
The 19-year-old Slovenian star was the driving force behind Slovenia's thrilling run to the semi-finals and walked away with the tournament MVP title, averaging 23.3 points, four rebounds and 5.9 assists per game.
Baric, who plays for Slovenian club ZKK Merkur Celje, first represented her country at the age of 13, at the 2005 U16 European Championship Women.
"Nika is a bright example of what happens when a great natural talent is nurtured within an excellent youth development system, such as the one the Slovenian federation has in place," commented FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson.
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin added: "This is a worthy recognition for a sublime young player such as Nika. I wouldn't be surprised if it serves as the start of a monumental career full of awards and trophies. Having watched her play, I have enormous expectations of her."
Although she was competing against some exceptionally gifted players, Baric won both the expert and fan vote with a substantial difference over the Ukrainian duo Alina Iagupova and Olesia Malaschenko, who came in second and third respectively.
FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year voting results:
|Player||Fan Voting||Expert Voting||Ranking|