Sept. 6, 2011
Most college students spend their summer lounging around the pool and generally taking it easy. Georgia Tech women’s basketball junior Danielle Hamilton-Carter did the opposite. She made the six hour trip from Atlanta to her home in Sweden for four days in early August, before making the additional six hour trek to Hong Kong and the city of Shenzen, China, for the 2011 World University Games held August 12-23 to compete with the Swedish National Team.
Hamilton-Carter, along with her Swedish teammates, and the rest of the participants spent two weeks in Shenzen, about an hour outside of Hong Kong. The event featured an opening ceremony similar to the Olympics and the games were played in an 18,000 seat arena, which Hamilton-Carter said was almost always full.
“The organization of the event was unbelievable,” she said. “The organizers did an outstanding job, we never wanted for anything. The atmosphere at every event was great. The stadium for the opening ceremony looked like the Birdcage from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the fans at our games were always into it. Even when we faced Chinese Taipei, they cheered for everything good that either team did.”
The Swedes faced a tough battle, drawing Australia, the Czech Republic and Japan in pool play. Sweden fell in the opener to Australia, 71-58, but rebounded with a 72-63 win over the Czech Republic and capped pool play with a resounding 108-73 win over Japan.
“The competition we faced in China was really good,” Hamilton-Carter said. “The Australian team has a lot of players who play professionally and they had a definite size advantage on us. It was disappointing to lose to them. To beat the Czech Republic was huge. It is a big rivalry between us and them, and a lot of our players play with them professionally, so it was a big deal to beat them. Japan was a good team and a very different style from what we’re used to facing. They were really quick and were able to get their shots off quickly.
“Pool play was tough, we played three games in three days,” Hamilton-Carter said. “You had to be ready to go each day, be able to compete at your best every day. Every team was good so we knew we had to be at our best.”
After advancing out of pool play, Sweden was then faced with the tall task of having to beat Russia. And the Swedes were successful, claiming a 68-60 win.
“Beating Russia was amazing,” Hamilton-Carter said. “We never backed down, we wanted it more. I think that’s one of the biggest things I brought back to Georgia Tech is that we wanted it more than Russia and we were able to beat them because of it.”
Sweden faced Chinese Taipei in the semifinals and fell 71-70 and then dropped a tough Bronze Medal Game to Australia, 66-56.
“Advancing to the semifinals was great, knowing that we were one of the four best teams in the world this year, and the top European team,” Hamilton-Carter added. “But we know that this is just a stepping stone, we’re going somewhere.”
As for how that helps her when she returned to Georgia Tech, Hamilton-Carter had this to say:
“I’m excited to get back to Georgia Tech now. I’m even more motivated to get back to my teammates and get back to work. We have high goals for this year and we’re not going to back down. I love my Swedish team, but Georgia Tech is my top priority and helping us be a better team. I think we’re ready for an amazing year here.”
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