Bea to play professional basketball in Europe

Former Washougal High basketball standout signs with Luxembourg league

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Washington State University forward Beyonce Bea attempts a shot during the Cougars’ Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament game against Santa Clara on March 24, 2024. (Contributed photo courtesy of Ashley Davis/Washington State University)

Beyonce Bea is going pro.

Bea, a 2019 Washougal High School graduate, will head to Europe this fall to continue her basketball career as a professional after signing a one-year contract with AB Contern of the Luxembourg Basketball League (LBBL).

“For me, it’s about getting to experience a new culture, new languages, new foods, all that type of stuff, and getting to see things over there, explore travel a little bit, while continuing to play basketball and get paid for it,” she said. “I was just looking for a great experience and a chance to keep playing and see new things while I can. Obviously, I always want to continue to get better on the court as well, but I think it’ll be just a great new experience playing in a different country where maybe their playing styles and how everything’s set up is a lot different than it is here in the States.”

After leading Washougal High to a 2A state championship in 2019, Bea joined the University of Idaho women’s basketball team and left four years later as one of the best players in Vandals history.

She played in 116 games during her Idaho career, starting all but two of them. During her four seasons in Moscow, Idaho, she averaged 16.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, shooting 44.8% from the field. She was named as an all-Big Sky Conference third-team selection during her freshman season, and earned first-team all-conference honors during her sophomore, junior and senior campaigns.

After capping her Vandals career in dominant fashion, finishing as the sixth-highest scorer in NCAA Division-I during the 2022-23 season, averaging 22.8 points per game, Bea transferred to Washington State University, where she averaged 6.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting a team-high 51% from the field during the 2023-24 campaign while surpassing 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds for her career.

“I loved my teammates and the coaching staff — they were all great, really welcoming,” she said. “I got a lot of opportunities to play a lot of minutes. Personally, I didn’t play as well as I had hoped. I kind of struggled a little bit with some typical confident things that happen when you transfer and try to adjust to a whole new system. But other than that, I loved being a ‘Coug’ for the year. It was a positive experience for sure.”

Bea said that she began thinking about playing professionally about two years ago, “definitely while (she) was at Idaho.”

“I knew past teammates who graduated and went on to play, and they all had great experiences and lots of good things to say about it,” she said. “And also, it’s just another way to continue playing basketball. If I didn’t go, I was kind of done, and I didn’t want to stop playing basketball, so this was a way to continue my career. I knew that I definitely have some options after talking with other people who have (played overseas), so I’ve kind of been planning on it for a while.”

At the conclusion of the 2023-24 season, Bea hired LBM Management, a Bandon, Oregon-based basketball agency, to help her find opportunities to continue her career overseas.

“(My agent and I) talked about what I would be looking for in terms of location, level of play, if they speak English, all that type of stuff that you consider before moving overseas,” she said. “We had a good discussion, and he used my film and stats and talked to different coaches and programs over there, and this just seemed like the best fit for me and what I was looking for.

“One of the main things I was looking for somewhere that was kind of centrally located so that I can do a lot of traveling and exploring other countries and places while I’m over there,” she continued. “This spot is perfect for that. There are four or five different countries not too far away that you can get to. (I wanted to go to a) safe country in general to live in, and a nice area that’s kind of similar to home, and Luxembourg is that way. And I also know a couple of people, one who (used) to play in the league and one who still plays in it, and they have nothing but good things to say.”

Bea plans to spend the summer in Washougal with her family before moving to Luxembourg in August.

“We’ll start playing in October or November, and go all the way through April, hopefully. That kind of just depends on how far we make it in the playoffs,” she said. “I think you’re guaranteed 20-something games, usually one per week, but some weeks you might get two, so that’s a little different than college. We will play some preseason games against teams in Belgium, France, and Germany, and then the actual league games are against the (other) LBBL teams.”

Bea won’t be going alone, however. She will be joined by a familiar face in Luxembourg as Brooke Walling, a former Prairie High School star who played collegiately at Fresno State University and Western Washington University, has also signed with AB Contern after a recommendation from Bea.

“I’ve known (Brooke) since eighth grade and played AAU with her,” Bea said. “I got really lucky that they were willing to (listen to) what I had to say and give her a chance. She’s a great player, a great person, so I’m really excited that we’ll both be there together, and it makes it a lot less daunting to move across the (world). My parents were definitely thankful for it too, because they didn’t want me to be over there without knowing anybody.”