Delle Donne Selected for USA University World Games Women's Basketball Team; Will Head to China For World University Games Later this Month
August 3, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Steven Maikoski (USA Basketball)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- With the opportunity of a lifetime in front of her, University of Delaware women’s basketball standout Elena Delle Donne seized the moment and earned a roster spot on the 2011 USA University Games team.
“Getting the group down to 12 is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my lifetime, in coaching anyway,” said Bill Fennelly, USA World University Games Team and Iowa State University head coach. “You have 14 people who worked very hard at it, who were very committed to it, and it’s not something like they weren’t good enough. It’s about trying to build a team with some versatility. It was very, very hard, but I’m very happy for the 12 young people who made it. They’ll do a great job representing USA Basketball and ultimately that’s what this is all about."
Delle Donne, a 6-5 All-American from Wilmington, Del., was one of 12 players named to the squad, which will compete in Shenzhen, China later this month. The USA team will remain at the United States Olympic Training Center to train through Aug. 7 before traveling to Shenzhen for its final World University Games preparations. The U.S. opens play on Aug. 14 against Brazil, will face Slovakia on Aug. 15, and caps preliminary round action against Great Britain on Aug. 16. Quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 18, medal semifinals will be played Aug. 19, and the finals will be held Aug. 21.
Delle Donne (at right) played in just 22 games for Delaware in 2010-11 after being diagnosed with Lyme disease, but still had an outstanding season. She led the Blue Hens with 557 points, averaging 25.3 points an outing - mark that would have easily led the nation had she played in three more games in order to qualify. She set a new Delaware mark by knocking down 52 straight free throws at one point, boosting her season percentage to a school record 94.4 percent (166 for 177).
For her efforts during the season, Delle Donne was named first team All-Colonial Athletic Association while being selected as the league’s Player of the Week on four occasions. She was also selected as the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association John J. Brady Athlete of the Year for 2010. She earned All-American honors and was the CAA Player and Rookie of the Year as a freshman 2009-10 when she averaged 26.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
The rising Blue Hen junior is joined on the U.S. team by Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame/South Bend, Ind.); Jacki Gemelos (USC/Stockton, Calif.); Keisha Hampton (DePaul/Philadelphia, Pa.); Glory Johnson (Tennessee/Knoxville, Tenn.); Lynetta Kizer (Maryland/Woodbridge, Va.); Natalie Novosel (Notre Dame/Lexington, Ky.); Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford/Cypress, Texas); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford/Cypress, Texas); Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame/Chicago, Ill.); Odyssey Sims (Baylor/Irving, Texas) and Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee/Morrilton, Ark.).
“There’s a step to this," said Fennelly. "When you had 14 there were things you didn’t want to get into, because they may not be here. They were all on a little bit of an edge, because they don’t know if they’re on the team or not. Some kids handle that differently. They play passive because they don’t want to make a mistake. It’s the whole idea of playing not to lose the game rather than playing to win the game. Now, they know they’re on the team and hopefully after their initial excitement, they can relax and refocus on figuring a way to win. We know the combinations, we know the people we’re going to work with now. It is a process, but I think moving from now until we leave the training center, I think we’ll be focused a lot differently on preparing and practicing for the task at hand, getting ready to play and building a team.”
Assisting Fennelly on the USA sideline are Suzie McConnell-Serio of Duquesne University and Terri Williams-Flournoy of Georgetown University.