Transsexual basketball player's team wins conference title

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After a wild season under the glare of the national media spotlight, the Mission College women's basketball team and its transsexual center Gabrielle Ludwig won their conference title Wednesday night.

The Saints beat second place De Anza College, 72-68, winning their first Coast-South conference title since 2004. Mission compiled a 9-0 league record and 18-7 overall.

Ludwig, from Fremont, Calif., sparked debate across the country after the Bay Area News Group and other media outlets told her story, highlighting the fact the 50-year-old Desert Storm veteran may be the first athlete to play collegiate sports first as a man then as a woman.

Ludwig, who stands 6 feet, 8 inches, had surgery to become a woman in July. She played in her first game Dec. 1. On Wednesday night, Ludwig played nine minutes, finishing with two points and four rebounds on 1-of-5 shooting. She is averaging 11 minutes per game, and 7 points and 7 rebounds.

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"Gabby has played well through the media attention that has died down and is practicing well," Mission coach Corey Cafferata wrote in an e-mail.

Mission has three games remaining in the regular season and expects to travel to College of the Siskiyous for a playoff game in two weeks.

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