SIBENIK, CROATIA – Rutgers rising junior Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) scored a team-high 12 points as the U.S. fell to Brazil, 73-60, in pool play at the FIBA World Championship for Young Women July 27 in Sibenik, Croatia.
Pondexter, a 5-9 guard and one of the Americans’ co-captains, made 4-of-10 field goals, including two three-pointers, and added three steals and three rebounds in 22 minutes played. She was the only American to score in double-figures.
“We weren't aggressive as we needed to be,” said Pondexter. “We played Brazil twice [in Boston] and playing a team three times is kind of hard to do. I'm not making excuses. We didn't play our game. Brazil, as a team, wanted the game more than we did and it showed in the second and fourth quarters. We have to regroup and come out better against the Czechs on Tuesday.”
The Americans (2-1), the champion of the FIBA Americas Region, will next play Czech Republic July 29 at 6:45 p.m. in the fourth of five pool-play games. The medal rounds begin Aug. 1, culminating in the gold-medal game Aug. 3. All times are local to Croatia, and are five hours earlier than the Eastern Time Zone.
The most experienced member of this year’s American team, Pondexter is spending her fourth consecutive summer as a member of the USA Basketball squad. As a co-captain and the team’s starting point guard last year, she helped lead the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2002 World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Tournament in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. She led the tournament with 6.5 assists per game, adding 8.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per contest. She won a bronze medal as a member of the 2001 U.S. Junior National Team which competed at the FIBA World Junior Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Following her junior season at John Marshall High School, Pondexter was named to the 2000 U.S. Junior World Championship Qualifying Team, helping the Americans win a gold medal in Mardelplata, Argentina.
Pondexter 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, she 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, Pondexter also was a member of the BIG EAST All-Tournament Team.
The Scarlet Knights, led by Pondexter, engineered the most dramatic turnaround in Division I this past season, improving from 9-20 in 2001-2002 to 21-8 and a trip to the 2003 NCAA Tournament’s second round.