SIBENIK, CROATIA – Rutgers rising junior Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) had her second consecutive double-digit scoring output, contributing 14 points as the U.S. defeated France 58-47 in the medal-round semifinals at the FIBA World Championship for Young Women Aug. 2 in Sibenik, Croatia.
Pondexter, a 5-9 guard and one of the Americans’ co-captains, was the second-leading scorer for the U.S., connecting on four of six (.667) field-goal attempts and shooting 5-for-6 (.833) from the free-throw line. Pondexter also added three rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes.
The U.S. will play Brazil in the gold-medal game Aug. 3 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. The Americans’ lone loss at the tournament was to Brazil in pool-play competition, a 73-60 decision on July 27.
“We have the chance to win the gold,” Pondexter said. “I feel good about us winning. I really wanted it. Two years ago we didn’t get a chance to win the gold medal, but now we have that chance. We came here for a world championship and that’s what we want to do.”
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.