DURHAM — Duke womens basketball player Tricia Liston struggled to put into words what it felt like to have a gold medal draped around her neck.
Its surreal, Liston said Wednesday. I never once imagined I would be able to win a gold medal and the feeling of actually getting it and them putting it around your neck is indescribable.
Its awesome, and being able to show people is fun.
Liston was on the USA team that won the World University Games, which ended July 17 in Kazan, Russia. This was the rising seniors first trip to Russia and her first experience with USA Basketball. She averaged 8.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists and tied the team high with nine 3-pointers as Team USA finished 6-0.
I think its probably one of my top accomplishments, if not the best, Liston said. The whole experience and winning a gold medal is definitely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so Id say this is my best accomplishment so far.
Liston said playing alongside her usual opponents was strange at first, but the team rallied.
The experience is totally unique to anything Ive ever been apart of, Liston said. Leaving your teammates that youve been with for three-plus years and going to play with people you actually play against is something that doesnt come very easy. Youve got to learn each other.
But when you put on the jersey and its for your country, we all have one goal and its to win a gold medal. That was what really pushed us and motivated us to play together and with each other like we did.
The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 13.5 points for the Blue Devils, who finished 33-3 last season. She was second on the team in points.
Liston said she will take what she learned and apply it to her upcoming season at Duke. She said playing with a different coach against elite competition will help her lead a Duke team that advanced to the Elite Eight last season.
I think its a good growth experience to have some other peoples opinions and inputs in that, but it definitely makes you appreciate your coaches back at home (and) especially your teammates.
I think thats one of the things I missed most in Russia, my teammates and my coaches.
Listons career 3-point percentage of 44.8 percent ranks first in school history and she is second in school history in free-throw percentage, sinking 85.8 percent.