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Former Cal Golden Bear Mikayla Cowling brutally beaten in a Polish nightclub

The basketball player, currently playing for Arka Gdynia in Poland, was beaten up by a nightclub security guard.

2021 Atlanta Dream Media Day
Mikayla Cowling, photographed at the Atlanta Dream’s Media Day in 2021.
Photo by Bryce France/NBAE via Getty Images

Mikayla Cowling, a 6-foot-2 forward currently playing for Arka Gdynia, was brutally beaten by a security guard at a Polish nightclub last week.

Cowling was selected 33rd overall by the Connecticut Sun in the 2018 WNBA Draft, but has yet to make her W debut. She has played professionally in France, Turkey and Israel. Before pursuing a hoops career in Europe, she was a four-year starter for the California Golden Bears.

Arka is a prominent Polish team, competing in the FIBA EuroCup Women, the second-level international competition involving teams from the continent. Cowling and some of her teammates went out on Wednesday to celebrate their 77-47 win over the Swiss Elfic Fribourg. After they first went to dinner, some players went to a nightclub in Gdynia.

There, she was attacked by a security guard. The incident occurred in front of the women’s bathroom, with two of her teammates witnessing the attack. Cowling suffered a broken eye socket after being punched and kicked in the head. The attacker knocked her down and continued to beat her. Arka Gdynia president Boguslaw Witkowski said of Cowling, “Mikayla is a positive, happy girl and she’d be the last person I would suspect of any aggressive behavior.”

The police obtained the recordings from the surveillance cameras and arrested the culprit the next day. The man is facing up to seven years in prison because of a history of similar incidents. Cowling was allowed to leave the hospital and is currently recovering at home. It’s unknown when she’ll be ready to return to action. Her teammates dedicated their next league game to Cowling.

Arka Gdynia players wearing shirts with the words “Mikayla, we’re with you” in Polish.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Cowling posted an official statement on Instagram. According to it, the violent act was racially- and gender-motivated.