Kazan, Russia - Nebraska's Jordan Hooper scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds while making her first international start, powering the USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team to a 90-71 victory in the gold medal game on Monday.
Hooper, a 6-2 senior forward from Alliance, Neb., erupted in her first USA start, pouring in five points, including the game's first three-pointer, to go along with three early rebounds to fuel the U.S. team's 13-3 lead to open the game. She also played a major role defensively in helping the United States to its third straight World University Games gold medal.
Hooper scored seven first-quarter points to help the USA take a 22-13 lead at the end of the quarter. She played the entire first period and finished with 31 minutes in the game. Entering the contest, Hooper had averaged 6.2 points and 5.0 rebounds while playing 12.6 minutes per game in the USA's first five wins.
In the tournament, Hooper finished with 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game, giving her per 40-minute averages of 16.6 points and 14.9 boards.
In addition to her scoring and rebounding, Hooper was officially credited with two assists, although her passes led directly to four USA baskets. She also had one official blocked shot, which came on a 3-on-1 Russian fastbreak. Hooper also caught a pair of Russian passes and forced several turnovers, although she was not offically credited with a steal in the contest.
Hooper started the second quarter on the bench, and while she was out, the Russian team quickly trimmed the USA margin to 25-21 with 7:46 left in the first half.
Hooper immediately returned to the court and helped shut out the Russians for the next three minutes to ignite a 7-0 USA run. Hooper's offensive rebound and assist to Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan) in the corner for a three-pointer, gave the USA a 38-25 lead with 2:43 left in the half. It was the first of back-to-back threes by Bradford in a 45-second stretch to send the U.S. squad to halftime with a 41-27 lead.
With Hooper keying the defense, the USA surrendered just six points in the final seven-plus minutes of the half.
Nebraska's two-time All-American played every minute of the third quarter. She again keyed a U.S. defense that helped the team build a 68-47 lead at the end of three quarters.
Hooper's final bucket came with 7:30 left in the game, giving the USA a 75-55 lead.
For the game, Hooper hit 4-of-8 shots from the field, including 1-of-3 three three-pointers, while the USA connected on 35-of-57 shots for the game, including 9-of-20 threes. The U.S. squad also hit 11-of-15 free throws. Despite Hooper's game-high nine rebounds, the Russians outrebounded the USA, 38-34, but the United States won the turnover battle, 20-16.
Bria Hartley (UConn) led a balanced U.S. attack with 17 points, while Bradford added a huge performance off the bench with 16 points in just 11 minutes. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (UConn) pitched in 15 points, while tournament MVP Odyssey Sims (Baylor) contributed 10 points and three assists. Theresa Plaisance (LSU) managed nine points and six rebounds, while fellow post player Cassie Harberts (USC) added eight points off the bench.
Russia hit 27-of-65 shots from the field, but just 5-of-24 from three-point range. Russia hit 12-of-18 free throws. Natalia Vieru, a 2012 Russia Olympian, led the team with 13 points.
The gold medal game, which was televised live by ESPNU, will be re-aired Monday at 8 p.m. The game will also re-air on Tuesday at 7 a.m.
USA Basketball Women's World University Games
Results & Schedule (Gold Medal)
Monday, July 8 - USA 120, Mali 32 (Pool B)
Tuesday, July 9 - USA 101, Czech Republic 61 (Pool B)
Wednesday, July 10 - USA 105, Brazil 75 (Pool B)
Friday, July 12 - USA 103, Sweden 72 (Quarterfinals)
Saturday, July 13 - USA 79, Australia 78 (Semifinals)
Monday, July 15 - USA 90, Russia 71 (Gold Medal Game)
ESPNU will re-air at 8 p.m. and on Tuesday, July 16 at 7 a.m.