One thing that jumped out at me when I started covering MAC women’s basketball this season was the amount of foreign born players. I never really gave it much of a second thought until this tweet came across my feed today.
Wishing Mariella Santucci the best as she participates in tryouts for the U20 Italian National team. pic.twitter.com/gceWKDmbyG— Tricia Cullop (@CoachCullop) June 14, 2017
Being one of the top 5 freshman in the MAC, I was familiar with Ms. Santucci and her role in international competition. I am not going to pretend to be an expert on the U20 Italian National Team, but I do know that she has extensive experience playing with some of the other national youth teams, so I would think that she is going to make the team.
I love sports, and will watch just about anything, but having a rooting interest makes it much better. Now I have one for this tournament. According to the FIBA website, it takes place on July 8th through the 16th. There is even a countdown until tip-off.
Aside from giving me something to follow this off-season, it also gives the MAC, and women’s basketball in general, some publicity. Another positive is that it gives Ms. Santucci a chance to improve her game.
What I also like about this particular competition is the format. It’s basically set up like the world cup. There are 16 teams, all grouped into 4 groups. Each group then plays all the other teams in their group, and the team with most points in their group advances. It’s much better way to determine a champion than a single elimination tournament.
This will be my first time rooting for Italy in international competition. I always root for the USA, but they aren’t in this competition, either because we rule and they are scared, or it’s in some place called Europe. If the USA isn’t available, I tend to root for Germany. Why? Because that’s where my ancestors are from. Both my parents have German last names, and family members have traced their history back to particular places over there. There really isn’t any bond there, as I have never visited, and know no family over there. Even though Germany isn’t in this particular competition, even if it would probably still be Go Team Italia!