Eastern Mennonite University women's basketball player Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) had an incredible opportunity this summer before gearing up for her second year with the Royals. Roach spent over a week in Brazil on the USA D-III basketball team representing her country, her sport, and her school.
The select team was made up of invited NCAA Division III basketball players from throughout the United States. Roach's invitation marks the second of Royals athletes to play in Brazil, representing USA shortly after men's volleyball player Christian Taylor (Richmond, Va./ Deep Run) did a similar tour in June.
The USA D-3 Men's & Women's Basketball Teams began their Brazil Tour 2017 in Orlando, with the tour running from July 17-26. After team orientation and practices, the team departed for Sao Paulo, Brazil. The USA D-3 Basketball Teams played games in Jundiai, Copacabana, and Queimados.
Roach said she learned adaptability from the first day.
"Our flight was cancelled on the way to Brazil," Roach explained, "so we were unable to practice before the games started. We essentially had to learn to play together on a whim. This allowed me to see different playing styles and also taught me how to improvise and adjust."
Joining players from other high profile programs such as Gettysburg, Emory, Bethel and St. Thomas, Roach was able to expand her basketball horizon and experience international play.
Playing in four games, Roach and her teammates were not only able to train hard, but were also able to enjoy the Copacabana area.
"Our hotel was right across the street from Copacabana Beach, so we went there just about every day when there was free time," said Roach. "We also went to the Christ the Redeemer Statue and went on the Sugar Loaf Mountain Tour. The views were great!"
Many of these sites and venues were landmarks during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro one year ago.
In addition to playing, the teams also hosted a youth clinic at Clube Jundiense and interacted with local and international fans.
"One memory that stuck with me was after our second game I gave a little girl one of my EMU basketball shirts, she was so happy to have it," Roach said. "It made her smile, which then made me smile and so we took lots of pictures!"
Last winter, EMU's basketball women finished with a 17-8 overall record finishing their last game at the ODAC Tournament quarterfinals. Roach was a statistical leader from her first game and averaged 33.0 minutes, 16.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game as a freshman. Roach was a two-time recipient of the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week and was named to the All-ODAC Third Team, one of just two freshmen among the 18 players honored by the conference.
In looking back on her experience, Roach reflects that the trip was more than playing international basketball. By being challenged to play with completely new teammates, she "had to really focus on communication, and being vocal and flexible."
As a rising sophomore, she will bring her experience from Brazil to EMU and focus on being vocal and communicating with her new teammates.
2017 USA D-3 Women's Basketball Team - Brazil Tour
Priscilla Dunphy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Emily Gibbons, Gettysburg College
Hannah Johnson, Bethel University
Miranda Murphy, Wartburg College
Ashley Oldshue, Emory University
Adriana Ramirez, Aurora University
Lucia Renikoff, University of St. Thomas
Chloe Roach, Eastern Mennonite University
Katie Sommer, Wartburg College
USA D-3 Women's Head Coach – Bob Amsberry (Head Coach, Wartburg College)