News and Events
Rousseau Wins Gold With U.S. University Hoops Squad
Pepperdine women's basketball coach Julie Rousseau, an assistant coach for the U.S. World University Games squad, helped the Americans bring back a gold medal in the recently concluded international tournament.
The USA won the gold-medal game in early July with an 83-64 win over Russia and went undefeated with a 7-0 record in the tournament, which was held in Belgrade, Serbia.
Rousseau says she was thrilled with her experience. "It was absolutely wonderful. Just to be part of international play, being in an Olympic-like atmosphere, having the opportunity to represent your country and being able to chant 'U-S-A'—it was an amazing opportunity. To be there and stand for something more than just yourself or your school, but for your country, was really patriotic."
The head coach of the American squad was Charli Turner Thorne of Arizona State University, and Suzy Merchant of Michigan State University also served as an assistant coach. Rousseau plans on taking what she learned from her fellow coaches and bringing her new knowledge home to her Pepperdine team.
"Being in the midst of two other head coaches and seeing how they perceive and approach the game, I couldn't help but learn from them," she says. "We ran some of the same types of offenses that we run at Pepperdine, but saw some different twists and options that I'll probably implement this year ... We preached to the kids defense and rebounding and that's what the difference was in winning the gold medal. That's what we do in our system here at Pepperdine, so it was good to see again how defense and rebounding impact the game and bring about success."
Rousseau says she was also happy to be able to represent Pepperdine in the international arena, as well as on a team filled with the top collegiate players and coaches.
"Representing Pepperdine was huge," she said. "All these kids come from big schools, and knowing that Pepperdine was part of it was something that I really valued. Some of these Olympic-level athletes were telling me they wanted to come visit Pepperdine. If we got Pepperdine known to a few more people, then it was good."
Rousseau's travels continue. After departing Serbia, she immediately began a recruiting trip, and is currently promoting the Pepperdine program to new players around the country.
"I'm really anxious to get back with our kids, and see our freshmen for the first time who are there for summer school. It will be good to get a chance to interact with them and see how they're getting acclimated ... I'm excited for the upcoming season. We're going to be young next year with five sophomores and five or six freshmen. I feel we'll be talented, but young."
Unfortunately, as an assistant coach Rousseau wasn't able to come home with a gold medal of her own, but she is content with having the experience of a lifetime.
"The memories will last a lifetime and the experience was so much fun," she said. "The memory of winning gold for the country is worth its weight in gold."
Find out more about the Pepperdine Women's Basketball team at pepperdinesports.com.