Mississippi State, playing as Team USA, and Olive Branch’s Myah Taylor, came up eight points short of a gold medal, falling to defending champion Australia 80-72 Wednesday afternoon at the World University Games women’s basketball finals in Naples, Italy.
Both teams entered in the gold medal contest without a loss in the tournament, including pool play.
Australia came into Wednesday’s finals having won the gold medal in the last Games four years ago. The Aussies had defeated Portugal in the other semifinal game, 56-49, to advance to the finals once again.
Taylor, a redshirt sophomore from Olive Branch, played primarily behind Bulldog standout guard and recent graduate Jazzmun Holmes in the Games. However, in Team USA’s semi-final victory over Japan Monday, Taylor played more than 21 minutes and led Team USA with nine assists and two steals, as the Americans won 89-84. Taylor scored two points and also added a rebound.
“Myah Taylor was really good off the bench tonight,” Schaefer said of the former Lady Quistor. “We had a lot of people step up tonight. This team is really special.”
DAVIS TO RAPTORS: Terence Davis of Ole Miss and Southaven didn’t stay with the Denver Nuggets very long. Davis, who signed a free agent deal with Denver after not attracting an NBA draft choice, reportedly signed with the NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Monday. The two-year deal has one year guaranteed and was not a two-way contract, which would have likely sent him to the NBA G League. He now joins a roster that includes former Memphis Grizzlies forward Marc Gasol.
GRIZ SIGN TWO-WAY PLAYER: We now know who is the first player on the coming season’s Memphis Hustle roster. The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guard John Konchar to a two-way contract, meaning he would likely play with the NBA G League team and also be available to move up to the NBA franchise roster at points during the year. Konchar, who played college basketball at Purdue Fort Wayne, is the first player in NCAA history to score at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists and 200 steals in his college career. Last season for the Mastodons, Konchar averaged 19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists and just under two steals a game. The All-Summit League First Team selection went undrafted in the NBA Draft. He was part of the Grizzlies’ Summer League roster in Salt Lake City.
BLAZE WINS HOME RUN DERBY: DeSoto Central’s Blaze Jordan won the High School Home Run Derby, part of the All-Star Game festivities that were held in Cleveland, Ohio. Jordan outslugged AJ Vukovich of East Troy, Wisconsin 7-6 in the Monday night finals at Progressive Field, the home of the Cleveland Indians. They were the two finalists from Sunday’s rounds, which ended with 20 homers from Jordan and 18 from Vukovich. Monday’s finals were held in between rounds of the MLB Home Run Derby. After his reclassification in early June, Jordan will now be considered in next year’s MLB Draft.
PICKLEBALL RETURNS: Hoping to light a further interest in the game of pickleball, another “Pickleball and Pizza” opportunity is set for Saturday, July 13, from 4-6 p.m. at the Snowden Grove Tennis Complex. A game for all ages, pickleball resembles tennis and badminton with a special racket and wiffle ball. DeSoto County Tourism is promoting the game with the Mid-South Pickleball Club. For more information, contact Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.