Sunday, August 21, 2011

Women’s Basketball Go Undefeated to Win Gold Medal at World University Games

Women's Basketball WUG GoldSummer is not traditionally women’s basketball time, but the World University Games held in Shenzhen China this August gave us some basketball sunshine. The World University Games host a variety of sports and are held every other year. The women’s basketball team, made up of college all stars including Stanford’s very own Nneka And Chiney Ogwumike, went undefeated. In the Gold Medal game, they beat Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) by a score of 101 to 66.

Chiney Ogwumike WUG GoldNneka certainly saved the best for last, scoring 24 points to lead all scores and added 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Chiney chipped in 10 points and 6 rebounds. It was Nneka’s third USA Basketball Gold Medal, having won gold at the U19 World Championships in 2009 and the U18 FIBA Americas Championship game in 2008. Little sis Chiney has two USA Basketball Gold Medals, this one and the one she earned at the U18 Americas Championship game in 2010.

Here’s what USA coach Bill Fennelly had to say about Nneka, culled from the USA Basketball site, along with all photos:
“We wanted to go to Nneka (Ogwumike) early and often, and we did,” said Bill Fennelly, Nneka Ogwumike WUG GoldUSA World University Games Team and Iowa State University head coach. “I think (tonight’s game) was even better than the game she played two years ago (in the U19 World Championship gold medal game). I think that says a lot about her, not just her talent, but her commitment and focus. You want your best players to step up at the biggest times, and a gold medal game is a good time to step up and do the things you can do.”

It certainly helped that Team USA had a distinct height advantage over their opponent. Taiwan averages 5’9 and USA over six feet at 6’1. They kept throwing it inside, mostly to Nneka and Team USA outscored them 62-22 in the paint.

What motivated Nneka in this game? Listen (or read for yourself, from USA Basketball):
“Yesterday against Australia, I was in a lot of foul trouble, but my teammates held it down. Today I wanted to redeem myself and let them understand that they can lean on me. I just really wanted to play hard. Play for four quarters and to win the gold medal.”

Nneka was also asked what it was like to play with her sister. She said to play on team USA and win a Gold Medal with her sister “was great.” We know what you mean. See both of you back in the US and in the Fall.

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