PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers junior Cappie Pondexter’s (Chicago, IL) World Championship Team has been named the USA Basketball Team of the Year.
The U.S. team won the gold medal at the 2003 FIBA World Championship For Young Women in Sibenik, Croatia, this summer. Pondexter, a team co-captain as well as the starting point guard, averaged 5.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game in leading the Americans to the championship. The most experienced member of the U.S. team, she has spent each of the last four summers as a member of the Under-21 National Team, striking gold at the 2002 World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Tournament as well as the 2000 Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, and earning a bronze medal at the 2001 FIBA World Junior Championships.
With its selection as USA Basketball’s Team of the Year, the squad is now eligible for the 2003 U.S. Olympic Team-of-the-Year Award, which will be announced by the U.S. Olympic Committee at a later date.
The 5-9 All-American has already named a preseason candidate for the 2003-2004 Women’s Wooden Award, the State Farm Wade Trophy and the Naismith National Player-of-the-Year Award, was named to the Street & Smith’s Preseason All-America High Honorable Mention List, and was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Conference First Team. Picked as one of the nation’s top five point guards by ESPN.com, she led Rutgers with 18.3 points and 4.9 assists per game during her rookie campaign, adding 5.1 rebounds per contest to rank second for the Scarlet Knights. An honorable-mention Associated Press and Kodak/WBCA All-American as well as the 2003 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, Pondexter also was the first rookie in conference history to earn a spot on the All-BIG EAST First Team. One of 12 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which honors the top point guard in Division I women’s basketball, she was a member of the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team.
Rutgers, ranked 16th by the Associated Press and 17th by ESPN/USA Today/WBCA in the groups’ preseason polls, will officially begin the 2003-2004 season Friday, Nov. 14, when RU hosts Saint Peter’s in the first round of the Preseason WNIT at 7:30 p.m.