Fennelly returns from Gold Medal run with Team USA

Zach Gourley

ISU women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly is back in Ames after coaching Team USA women’s basketball team to a gold medal at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China.

Fennelly and the USA women went a perfect 6-0 in Shenzhen, capping their international trip with a convincing 101-66 win over Taiwan.

It is the fourth time Fennelly has won a gold medal coaching with USA basketball. However, this was his first experience as the head man in international basketball.

“Someone told me one time that the head coach and the assistant coach is one seat over, but that’s a big move and that’s a big seat to move into,” Fennelly said. “It was a lot of fun and certainly an experience that I’ll remember forever.”

Though Fennelly said he was concerned about the team’s lack of a true post player before the games began, his team often enjoyed a height advantage.

The average height on the Team USA roster was 6-foot-1, whereas the silver medalists, Taiwan, had an average height of 5-foot-9. The team also averaged 22.8 rebounds per game.

Team USA was led in scoring and rebounding by Elena Delle Donne, of the University of Delaware, with 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

“The leaders of our team were Nneka Ogwumike, of Stanford, and Skylar Diggins from Notre Dame, and I’ve had them before as an assistant coachso they knew my personality, so that helped. And they’re both really good players,” Fennelly said. “Then Elena Delle Donne from Delaware was our best player and players respect other great players, and so those were the three that we counted on. It’s easy to see why those teams are winning when you see those three kids.”

The team outscored its opponents by an average of 45 points per game, with the closest call coming in a 79-67 semifinal victory against Australia.

Fennelly noted that one of the highlights for him and the team was seeing the support they received and the sense pride that instilled.

“It gives you a great sense of pride to walk around in your USA stuff when those people are excited to see you,” Fennelly said. “There were people that may not even like women’s basketball but they love their country. Every game was a sellout and it was incredible to see the crowds, people waving their flags, that made it really cool.”