BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A former standout for the UAB women’s basketball team will be representing Puerto Rico on the court during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Deanna Kuzmanic, who scored 1,116 points with a .756 free-throw percentage during her four years with the Blazers, qualified for the Puerto Rican women’s national team on Sunday.
“It is such an honor and a blessing to represent Puerto Rico on the national team,” Kuzmanic said in a statement provided by UAB. “The island has been through so much, most recently the recurring earthquakes that caused severe damage throughout Puerto Rico. This Olympic ticket means much more than basketball, it represents the reliance and fight of Puerto Rico. We are putting Puerto Rico on the map and showing the world the heart of the island.”
Kuzmanic appeared in all three games of the qualifying tournament in Bourges, France, where the Puerto Rican squad went 1-2 with a 91-89 overtime win over Brazil in the opening game of the tournament. She tallied 17 minutes of action over the three games collecting three boards.
This is the first time the Puerto Rican women’s national team has ever qualified for the Olympics.
During her time with the Blazers, Kuzmanic earned All-Conference USA honors three times in her career. The Illinois native ranks 12th in the program’s history in scoring and is top 10 in 12 different categories, including first in games played (128) and minutes played (4,310) in a career.
Back in October, Kuzmanic was named a top 30 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, where she was the only Division I college basketball player represented among 30 finalists.
“We are so thrilled for Deanna and the opportunity she has to compete on the world stage in the Tokyo Olympic Games,” UAB women’s basketball head coach Randy Norton said in the statement. “She has always pursued excellence on and off the court and is a tremendous role model for current UAB athletes and everyone she is around. It is great to see her outstanding work ethic and huge heart pay off for her.”
The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held from July 24 to Aug. 9. The women’s basketball preliminary round will start on July 27 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City, Japan with a bracket to be determined later.
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