Women's College Basketball
Bopping Around The Globe
LAWRENCEVILLE--What I did last summer?
For rising senior Caitlin Bopp (Baltimore, Md./Inst. of Notre Dame) of the Rider University women's basketball team, the last part of the summer was spent bopping around the globe with trips to Belgium, Germany and France as part of the Global Sports Select/All Star Team August 7-15.
The mission of the Global Sports Academy (GSA) is to arrange athletic competition for both Select All-Star and College Teams at all levels and to "Promote International Goodwill" and a better understanding between nations through sports.
"Originally the trip was comprised of players from the Patriot League," Bopp said. "Through word of mouth and connections that Rider assocaite head coach Pam Durkin had with the team's coaching staff, I was one of the ones selected to participate."
The team was coached by Denise King, who is in her fourth season as an assistant coach at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
"It is awesome that the coaches in this area hold me in high enough regard to have thought to invite me to participate," Bopp said. "I was pleasantly surprised."
"We are very proud that Caitlin had the opportunity to represent Rider on an international basis," said Bronc head coach Lynn Milligan. "She had an amazing experience."
Bopp, a Business Administration major, was a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference All-Rookie team in 2009-10 and enters her senior season tied for sixth all-time on Rider's career rebounding list.
The nine-day tour consisted of five games in Belgium, Germany and France.
"We stayed in Michelin, Belgium," Bopp said. "Every day, we went to a different city; we did some site seeing each morning and then played in that particular city that night. The teams for the most part were what were called Division 2 teams. They aren't pro teams but groups assembled specifically for the purpose of playing traveling teams from around the world. And on the last day, we did play a semi-pro Division 1 team, which was a lot of fun."
Bopp played against Laarne 1st Land, Fleurus, Hagen, Hagen 2nd and the final day was a trip to Paris and a game against Houthalen.
As a junior in 2011-12, Bopp played in 25 games, making 18 starts and was third on the team (and 23rd in the MAAC) in scoring with 9.2 points, while averaging 7.3 rebounds per contest.
"The experience of the tour gives me a lot of confidence heading into my final season at Rider," said Bopp. "We went undefeated (5-0) on the trip and the fact that I was able to keep up and compete with some pretty good athletes will carry me into the season. The whole experience is going to make me a better player."
"Anytime a student-athlete gets the chance to expand their game and play at a different level it is a plus," Milligan said. "Caitlin's experience will benefit not only her but our team this upcoming season."
Bopp's teammates included senior Candace Bond (Hofstra University), junior Ashley Christie (Mount St. Mary's University), senior Lindsay Horbatuck (Bucknell University), junior Blair Koniszewski (Sacred Heart University), senior Amy Lepley (College of Holy Cross), junior Anma Onyeuku (Hofstra University), senior Danielle Pankey (Fairleigh Dickinson University), junior Shelby Romine (Bucknell University) and junior Alex Smith (College of Holy Cross).
"I plan on keeping in touch with my teammates," Bopp added. "We bonded together quickly and it was a very rewarding experience."
Rider returns 10 letterwinners and the Broncs open the 2012-13 season at Stony Brook on November 9. The home opener in Alumni Gymnasium on the Lawrenceville, New Jersey campus is November 12 at 7pm when Rider hosts the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
"I want to leave everything on the court this year," Bopp added. "I want to go out with a bang and give it our best as the team continues to improve."
Bopp was one of two Rider women's basketball players to experience overseas competition this summer with rising sophomore Kornelija Valiuskyte (Siauliai, Lithuania) competing for her home country at the U20 European Women's Championship in Debrecen, Hungry August 16-26.