Ohio State women’s basketball players Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins helped lead the United States to the gold medal at 2005 World University Games in Germany and Turkey recently.
The Americans went 7-0 during the event, including a 79-53 triumph over Serbia and Montenegro in the championship game, held in Izmir, Turkey, on Aug. 19.
The 6-5 Davenport started all seven games and averaged 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. She shot 62 percent (29-47) from the field.
The 5-9 Hoskins averaged 6.9 points and two assists per game.
“It was a lot of fun – we went out there and played hard,” Davenport said. “We had a lot of people who could do a lot of different things. I think as many tough players as we had, we just kind of wore teams down.”
Davenport was the team’s third-leading scorer. It’s been a while since she hasn’t been the “go-to” player on a team.
“Yeah, I think that was nice,” she said. “You don’t have to put that extra pressure on yourself knowing that you need to perform at the highest level to be able to have your team. We had a lot of great players on our team and that’s what I think wore teams down.”
Overall, Davenport was pleased with the way she played on the trip.
“I think I played well,” she said. “Like I said, I didn’t have to be that go-to player, so I just kind of let the game come to me and got some points, got some rebounds, couple blocks here and there and just had a nice time.”
The closest game for the Americans was an 88-64 victory over Czech Republic in the opening game on Aug. 10. The most lopsided win was a 92-22 romp over South Africa.
But Davenport says the level of competition wasn’t all that bad. It was just that the American team was loaded with talent.
“All the teams we played out there were good,” she said. “They had great players or they wouldn’t be at the university games. I just give credit to our team for going out there and playing hard and refusing to lose.”
Hoskins agreed with Davenport’s assessment of the competition.
“Like she said, some of the teams had some great players, but it was different for them playing against a great team,” Hoskins said. “Everybody on our team had something different to add. You can go from 1-14 and you could have started any five and you could have expected to win.”
It was also an interesting experience culturally for the ladies. It was their first time in Germany and Turkey.
“It was different,” Davenport said. “A lot different that the United States. But, that’s the point of going to new countries so you can experience how people live, different from yourself.”
Davenport went to Australia with the Big Ten foreign tour last summer, so playing in new countries and long plane rides are nothing new to her.
“Well, I think the plane ride prepared me because just being able to sit there for nine hours straight with doing nothing, that’s an experience in itself,” she said. “But, just being able to go play against international competition where the game is a lot more physical and the refs let a lot of things go, just being able to do that again was pretty exciting.”
Davenport is entering her junior season at OSU. As a sophomore in 2004-05, she averaged 19.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year.
Since Davenport is humble and doesn’t like talking about herself very much, Hoskins was asked how Davenport played in Europe.
“She did really well,” Hoskins said. “She stepped up. To me, she was the best player there. She can do more than a lot of people. She had the jump shot going, blocked shots. She just played every phase of the game really well.”
And how did Hoskins play?
“I think she played she played well,” Davenport said. “She was the best passer on the team. She was very creative and got to the hole a lot and created for our team.”
As for the food in Germany and Turkey, Davenport and Hoskins were less than impressed.
“I didn’t like all of it,” Davenport said. “We went to restaurants and I tried some new stuff and it was definitely different. I brought some snacks though. And we also went to Burger King, McDonald’s, everywhere I could go to get some American food.”
Are places like Burger King and McDonald’s different overseas?
“No, it was just the same, just more expensive,” Davenport said. “We went to Burger King at the airport on the way home and it was like 3 in the morning and I had a cheeseburger meal and it cost me $21.75 in Turkish dollars. So, in U.S. dollars, it was about $15. But we weren’t going to eat until 3:30 the next afternoon, so I had to get it.”
Hoskins had never been so happy to see a Whopper.
“We went to Burger King one day and I felt that it was the best day of my life,” she said. “The food wasn’t that great over there, so it was good to see a Burger King. I’m a real picky eater and the food was like… oh my god. I got used to eating rice and corn every morning for breakfast. I even started eating liver. I hate liver, but I was eating it like it was really steak.”
The ladies also made sure to see the sights and enjoy some entertainment.
“We went out a few times,” Hoskins said. “We actually went to one of the German shows and did like a little dance. And we went out in Turkey a lot. We toured a lot and it was a lot of fun. I was surprised how much I really enjoyed it. There were a lot of shops and old buildings, clock tower, stuff like that. We went shopping a lot.”
Ohio State was 30-5 last season and broke the school record for wins. This year, with players like Davenport and Hoskins back in the fold, even more is expected from the Buckeyes.
“Our goal is just to play hard every game,” Davenport said. “We’re not going to overlook anybody and we just want to win every game or as many games as possible. I don’t want to make a set goal of we want to do this, or we want to do that. We just want to win games.”
Hoskins is a little more outspoken regarding her thoughts for the upcoming season.
“We want to win,” she said. “We don’t want to share the conference like last year. We want to win the national championship. We’re not happy with just trying to say that we’re going to get to the Final Four. We don’t want that. We want to win it all and we’ve got the talent to do so.”
Here is a full list of the United States’ scores from the World University Games:
Aug. 10 USA 88, Czech Republic 64
Aug. 11 USA 92, South Africa 22
Aug. 12 USA 107, China 54
Aug. 15 USA 89, Poland 63
Aug. 16 USA 109, Taiwan 57
Aug. 17 Semifinals - USA 118, Russia 67
Aug. 19 Finals - USA 79, Serbia & Montenegro 53