Marianna Tolo is one of the best female athletes to come out of Queensland, originally a Mackay junior Tolo is now tearing it up in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks and hopefully on her way to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics later this year.
Born and raised in Mackay, Tolo made her debut wearing the maroon, gold and white at the U16 Australian Championships in 2003 as a member of the Queensland North squad. Her talent for the game was obvious, making the Queensland team for five consecutive years. At 17 years old Marianna Tolo made a big move for her basketball career and left the familiar North Queensland town for the AIS in Canberra.
Tolo rapidly fulfilled the promise whilst at the AIS after joining the Canberra Capitals. In her early years in the league Tolo was a part of two WNBL championships. By the 2009/2010 season Tolo had a record to her name with most blocked shots in a single game. After an impressive period with the WNBL opportunities were opening up for Tolo and she made the move to France where she played for Aix En Provence in the Ligue Féminine de Basket establishing herself as a top 5 scorer and top 10 rebounder early on. The following season she then played for CJM Bourges Basket.
In between jetting around the world for the sport she loves, Marianna Tolo was also making a name for herself in Australian Basketball. After winning two WNBL titles Marianna joined the 2010 FIBA World Championship squad and was named a WNBL All-Star Five in 2011. Unfortunately this was not enough to secure a spot in the Opals squad for the 2012 London Olympics.
After a couple of years in Europe, Tolo found herself in LA signing a contract with the Los Angeles Sparks. It was not an easy ride for Tolo however, as just half way through her first season in the WNBA and 11 months out of this year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, she tore her ACL. This didn’t get Tolo down and she is now more determined than ever to be on the court in Brazil wearing the national colours.
Marianna Tolo is the perfect inspiration to young players trying to make themselves known in basketball. Tolo has worked her way from a regional city to the biggest and best basketball league in the world. A combination of her talent and hard work has allowed Tolo to play the sport she’s loves in three different countries. It goes to show that you can make it if you are willing to put in the effort!
We wish Marianna Tolo all the best in her recovery and hope to see her representing Australia at the Olympics in a few months’ time!