Jennies Go Global: Redmond Follows in Footsteps of Summer Olympians

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Sports Editor
It was a dark, rainy day as Paige Redmond ascended to the top of Mount Corcovoda in Rio de Janerio. Just as the junior forward reached the Christ the Redeemer statue at the summit, a cloud passed through the monument, surrounding her group in a hazy atmosphere. And although the sky surrounding them was opaque it was clear, Redmond was far from Warrensburg.
Redmond, however, was not in Brazil for a leisure vacation. She traveled thousands of miles to Rio de Jenario to play basketball, just as Team USA did in the previous summer’s Olympic games. As a selection for the USA D-2 Brazil Tour, Redmond was granted the opportunity to compete against Brazilian teams alongside some of Division II’s top talent.
Four players from the MIAA joined Redmond on the tour including Missouri Southern State University’s Chelsey Henry, Pittsburg State University teammates Paige Imhoff and Brenlee McPherson, and Tanya Meyer from Northwest Missouri State University. The other half of the team consisted of five players from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Not only did Redmond experience a different culture through her journey to the Christ the Redeemer statue, but the action on the court also echoed a feeling of unfamiliarity.
It didn’t take long for the USA D-2 Women’s team to learn that Brazilian basketball was slightly different from the game that they were used to playing in the States. Their first scheduled game proved to be competitive – the women’s team walked into the locker room at halftime feeling frustrated, confused, and, slightly beat up.
“They don’t call fouls over there (in Brazil) like they do here,” Redmond said. “We weren’t used to getting thrown to the floor and it not being a foul because here you can get touched and it’s a foul.”
Brazil’s allowance for a more physical style of playing was accompanied by other amendments to the American rulebook. The shot clock was reduced to 24 seconds as compared to 30 seconds and the ball had to cross half-court in eight seconds instead of 10.
The team of D-2 all-stars immediately made adjustments to compensate for the rule changes. In fact, Redmond explained that the team’s problems were solved by one simple adjustment, play faster.
The team began to pass the ball quicker in order to avoid the rough physical contact from defenders. They also sped up their overall pace to account for the shortened shot clock.
As the games progressed, the girls were granted nearly unlimited freedom when it came to play-calling and in-game decision. Redmond noted that she specifically enjoyed when all five MIAA players were on the court at the same time because they had a similar playing style. The MIAA conference rivals mutually agreed to run a full-court man defense, as opposed to the half-court zone defense that the NSIC players preferred. Overall, though, she said that team functioned well as a unit.
As the player began to bond on the court they formed friendships off the court. Redmond explained that she felt like “a lone wolf” when they first arrived in Brazil due to the fact that her family was unable to make the journey like her teammates’ families. This feeling quickly evaporated in the hot, Brazilian sun as she enjoyed spending time with her teammates on the beach.
“We just had a good time,” Redmond said. “It really felt like we just knew each other for a while.”
This bond with other teammates made the trip much more enjoyable Redmond said and she would gladly do it all over again. She highly recommends that UCM’s basketball players go on the trip if granted the opportunity.
Redmond said, “It was probably the best trip I’ve ever been on.”