Tarleton lands Bulgarian standout guard Viktoria Ivanova to deepen 2022-23 backcourt


STEPHENVILLE – For the second time in the 2022 recruiting cycle, Tarleton has landed one of the top amateur players in eastern Europe. 

Head coach Misty Wilson announced the addition of Stara Zagora, Bulgaria native Viktoria Ivanova to the Texans’ 2022-23 roster on Wednesday. 

Ivanova, a 5-10 guard, arrives in Stephenville following a two-year stint at South Plains College. 

Prior to venturing to Levelland, Ivanova competed for the Bulgarian National Team at the 2019 FIBA U20 European Championships. She averaged 13.8 points per contest, which ranked 14th among all players, to go along with 5.1 rebounds per game. 

Ivanova is ranked No. 54 among all junior college players on the Dan Olson Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. 

“Viktoria is probably one of the most underrated players in our opinion,” Wilson said. “What really drew us to Viktoria is her ability to impact games in a positive manner in many different ways. She is an intuitive defender, a physical rebounder, and an overall great teammate, and those traits go a long way in our program. Viktoria also has a very quick release and is able to score consistently from the perimeter and use her size and strength when she gets to the paint. Viktoria is a very driven individual that will do whatever it takes in the classroom and on the court to succeed. I look forward to coaching her for the next couple of years and feel like the Tarleton and Stephenville community will be drawn to her in the same way we are.”

Over the course of her tenure with South Plains, Ivanova guided the program to a 42-13 overall record and consecutive appearances in the NJCAA Women’s Basketball National Tournament. She scored 496 career points across 52 games played and 43 starts. 

As a sophomore in 2021-2022, she made 27 starts in 28 appearances for South Plains, helping the team finish with a 22-9 overall record and secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA National Tournament. Ivanova ranked fourth on the squad in scoring at 10.2 points per game. She tallied 16 double-digit scoring games and scored a career-high 17 points on two occasions. 

She was just as consistent on the glass as she was at the offensive end. Ivanova also averaged 4.1 rebounds per outing and snagged seven-or-more rebounds on five occasions, including a season-high 10 in a game against Northwest Florida State on Nov. 26. 

Ivanova played an integral role in helping South Plains ascend as high as No. 3 in the NJCAA D1 Women’s Basketball Rankings and advance to the quarterfinals of the NJCAA National Tournament during her first season in west Texas in 2020-21.  

She appeared in 24 games and made 16 starts, averaging 8.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.  

The best offensive performances of her junior college career came under the brightest lights in 2020-21. 

Ivanova scored a career-high 21 points on 8-14 shooting and converted a put-back layup as time expired to lead South Plains to a 74-72 victory over Weatherford College and capture the NJCAA Region V title.  

She then scored 17 points across a season-high 35 minutes to fuel South Plains to a 16-point win against Georgia Highlands College in the opening round of the NJCAA National Tournament on Apr. 21, 2021. 

Ivanova will be a junior and have two years to play two seasons for the Texans. 

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