ORU women’s basketball players, Dorottya Balla and Fruzsina Fejes were chosen to represent their home country of Hungary in the World University Games in South Korea this summer.
“For me, it was the greatest experience in my whole life,” said Fejes. “Not just basketball wise, but this whole Universiade [World University Games], how they organized it, that I had a chance to go to South Korea and visit this place. I think in my life, this is a unique thing because I guess I would never go there.”
Hungary, Canada, South Korea and Mozambique were in Group A of the round-robin format tournament.
The team finished 2-1 in Group A before competing in tournament play.
“[The best moment was] when we got into the best eight against South Korea, the home team,” said Balla. “There were not a lot of coaches and people who believed in us in our country back home. They supported us, but were like ‘not sure they are going to make it.’ And then we made it and it was huge for us. I felt like I am a champion.”
Fejes averaged 2.5 points per game, 2.6 boards per game and 11 minutes during the tournament. The incoming freshman logged a tournament high of eight points in the team’s loss against Canada.
Balla, who is beginning her junior year as a Golden Eagle, started in the games against Australia and Chinese Taipei. She averaged 2.8 points per game, 2.2 rebounds per game and 17 minutes in the tournament.
The Hungarian team fell to the USA 84-43, the eventual tournament champion, before suffering losses to Australia 75-58 and Chinese Taipei 80-56 earning the 8th place finish.
“13,000 athletes lived in the same place,” said Fejes. “It was like an Olympics for college students. It was so much fun.”
16 countries were represented in the games with USA, Canada and Russia taking the top three spots, respectively.
“We’re very proud,” said Head Coach Misti Cussen. “When they’re representing their Hungarian roots, they’re also representing ORU.”
Balla started in 30 games for the Golden Eagles last season averaging 8.5 points per game. She also led the team in three point shooting and was one of the Summit League’s best free-throw shooters, hitting 82.8 percent at the line.
Fejes has been working with the team and is ready to start her first season at ORU.
“I think Fruzsi and Dorka are a great example of the kind of product that’s coming out of our athletic department here on campus,” Cussen said.
The experience Balla and Fejes gained in the World University Games will be valuable as the Golden Eagles look to win the Summit League Conference this winter.