SIBENIK, CROATIA – Rutgers rising junior Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) scored 10 points to help lead the U.S. to an 80-56 victory against Australia in the medal-round quarterfinals at the FIBA World Championship for Young Women Aug. 1 in Sibenik, Croatia.
Pondexter, a 5-9 guard and one of the Americans’ co-captains, made all five of her field-goal attempts, adding two rebounds, one assist and a steal in 18 minutes played. She was one of four Americans to reach double-figures in scoring.
The U.S. will play France in the medal-round semifinals Aug. 2 at 12:45 p.m. EDT, and the championship culminates in the gold-medal game Aug. 3. On the first day of the tournament, the U.S. defeated France 56-48 in pool-play competition.
Pondexter and the Americans lost in the semifinal round of the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championships, an outcome they will try not to repeat against France.
“I’m taking the game personally anyway because the first game we played against France wasn’t one of my best games,” Pondexter said. “I was very disappointed after that game so I have some things I want to get off of my chest. I talked with Alana (Beard, who was also on the 2001 USA Junior National Team) about it and we really want to do this. We have a good chance because we have a really good team. As long as we keep communicating we’ll be fine.”
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 that 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.