Feb. 16, 2012
CHICAGO - DePaul senior Deanna Ortiz has been invited to try out for the Puerto Rican Women's National Basketball team. The Blue Demon senior will finish out the season before traveling to San Juan for the team trials in April.
"This was unexpected and happened so fast," Ortiz said after her plans were finalized earlier this week. "I am extremely excited. I didn't think it would happen to me. It is a great opportunity and I am just so excited to see what happens."
Ortiz's grandparents Epifanio and Carmen Ortiz were both born in Puerto Rico which allows the senior to be eligible for its National Team. Ortiz will join 18-20 other women for training camp in April while the a 12-person roster will travel to Ankara, Turkey, June 25-July 1 for the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Puerto Rico was invited to the tournament in Turkey after winning gold at the Pan American Games in 2011. Puerto Rico joins teams from Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Turkey, Argentina, Canada, Mali, Mozambique, Japan, Korea and New Zealand competing for the final five spots in the 2012 London Olympics.
"All of us in DePaul women's hoops are thrilled that Deanna will have the opportunity to try out for the Puerto Rican National Team," Blue Demon head coach and assistant coach for the USA Women's National Team Doug Bruno said.
"Deanna is a premium 3-point threat but she is also so much more than 'just' a shooter.
"She understands the game like few I have ever coached and she is one of those 'stabilizing players' who does so much more than what shows up in the box score," Bruno added.
"I know Deanna will make herself a great addition to the Puerto Rican National Team fighting to compete in this summer's London Olympics" Bruno said in closing.
This season, Ortiz has started 24 games and is third on the team with 29 3-potiners. Her 2.4 assist/turnover ratio leads the team while the senior has dished out five or more assists in three games.
Ortiz is looking to become the second Blue Demon to compete in the Olympics. Mfon Udoka (1994-98) was a member of the Nigerian National Team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She led all players with 11.9 rebounds and was second in scoring with 21.8 points per game. At DePaul, Udoka was a two-time first team All-Conference USA selection and finished her collegiate career with 1,547 points and 1,047 rebounds.
DePaul returns to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Morgantown, West Virginia. The 10th meeting between the Blue Demons and Mountaineers can be heard live on DePaul's BlueTube with Cami Padilla calling the action courtside.