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      Finnish basketball player showing her stuff on the court

      She's 6 foot 2 inches and comes all the way from Finland, and she knows her way around a basketball court.

      Her name is Nea Makela, and she's the newest addition to the NMU women's basketball team.

      "I'm nervous, yeah. Every game is so different, every practice is different here. But, I'm enjoying it so much. This is my dream come true to play here," said Nea.

      She says one of the biggest differences is getting used to the style of play, noting that Americans play a faster and more aggressive game. Head coach Troy Mattson heard that the Finnish athlete was looking to play basketball in the United States, and Mattson jumped on it.

      "She'll see a lot of playing time, potentially even start at some point this season. She's really, really skilled for a young lady of her age, and she's going to be an outstanding player," said Mattson.

      Mattson says she's a center but could also be a power forward thanks to the training she got in Finland. Nea says the strong Finnish culture in the Upper Peninsula has made her transition to the U.S. undoubtedly easier.

      In Finnish, Nea added, "Tule tukemaan meihin pelit" (Come support us at our games.)

      The Lady Wildcats kick off their season Saturday at the Berry Events Center when they host Davenport at 6 p.m.