DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins, Team USA return home with gold medal

DePaul redshirt junior Chanise Jenkins at McGrath-Phillips Arena Saturday, Oct. 18. during an open scrimmage for the women’s team. (Maggie Gallagher / The DePaulia)
DePaul’s Chanise Jenkins was one of 12 women’s basketball players representing the U.S. (Maggie Gallagher / The DePaulia)

While most collegiate athletes will spend their summers training on their own or with former coaches, DePaul women’s basketball guard Chanise Jenkins had an entirely different experience. She was one of 12 women’s basketball players from around the nation chosen to represent the United States in the World University Games in South Korea.

“It was just amazing and an eye-opening experience,” Jenkins said. “I loved being surrounded by all of the different cultures that were there to represent their countries. It was a very fun an energetic atmosphere.”

The United States went undefeated in the group stage, then went all the way through the bracket to win the gold medal, defeating Canada in the final. Jenkins had four points, a rebound an assist in the final game.

While there to participate in the tournament, Jenkins was also able to experience some of the culture of South Korea and of some of the teams she played against. She was also able to take part in experiences such as going on a private tour of the Korean DMZ (de-militarized zone) that stretches the border between North and South Korea.

“We were able to sit there and see into North Korea and go on a little private tour that some people aren’t allowed to go on,” she said. “It was exciting and scary at the same time.”

On the court, Jenkins said that playing with a new team, one that they had spent only a couple weeks training with, was an adjustment.

“It was sort of difficult at first but at the same time they had to adjust as well,” she said. “It was very challenging and fun at the same time to learn different types of playing styles. I think it was a beneficial factor for all of us.”

Another adjustment that she had to get used to was the different rules that separate international play. For one, the shot clock was only 24 seconds, six seconds less than what Jenkins is used to with the NCAA, as well as only having eight seconds to bring the ball across the half-court line on an inbounds play. The one that gave the United States and Jenkins the most trouble early in the tournament, however, was the inability to step before a dribble.

“Here, you can catch the ball, sweep through the basket while there you have to put the ball down before you could move,” she said. “It was a big transition for me and the USA team, we got a lot of travel calls the first game.”

Another thing different about the tournament from NCAA play was the quarters instead of halves. The NCAA changed the rules for women’s basketball so that they would play in four quarters instead of two halves, which would take effect starting in the 2015-16 season. With this tournament, Jenkins had a taste of what playing with quarters would be like at a collegiate level.

“It was sort of different but not that much since it was the same amount of time,” she said. “I really felt like the fourth quarter dragged a bit in some games and in some they went by really fast.”

The United States was able to adjust to the differences, however, and dispatched of Czech Republic, Italy and China in the group stage before dominating Hungary in the quarterfinals. Their biggest test came in the semifinals against Japan, where it took double-overtime to finally defeat them.

“Japan was a very good team and very talented,” she said. “They sort of reminded me of our DePaul team that can shoot the ball from anywhere but also get to the basket and get to the foul line.”

After a 19-point victory over the Canadians in the final, Jenkins and Team USA returned home with a gold medal.

“To have that gold medal put around my neck was an amazing experience and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women to go through that with,” she said.