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Lithuania — UTEP women basketball rising sophomore guard/forward Irene Gari will play for Spain at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships (July 18-28) in Lithuania. Spain is vying to reach its third successful final, and they will play a trio of games (vs. Japan, 11:15 a.m. MT, 7/18; vs. Argentina 9 a.m. MT 7/19 & vs. Australia 11:15 a.m. 7/20) in Group B. The unquestioned favorite for the championships is USA, which has won the past four crowns.
Last week Gari showed she was ready for the event by scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds in a friendly game against Canada. Overall this will mark Gari’s third FIBA appearance for Spain, as she previously competed at the 2012 U18 European Championship and the 2010 U16 European Championship Division A.
Last year her efforts aided Spain to a fifth-place finish in its section, which qualified it for the 2013 championships. She tallied 13 points in 23 minutes in a 71-60 win against Turkey that clinched fifth place (8/15/12) while posting a team-high 14 points in 22 minutes in a 76-36 rout against Greece (8/1/12).
Gari was also a key member of the Spanish Team in the 2010 U16 event. She poured in a Eurobasket career-high 22 points vs. Netherlands (8/12/10), which was aided by drilling a quartet of triples. Gari followed that up by setting a personal best for rebounds at seven against Poland (8/13/10). She also had a pair of games with at least three assists and four contests with a trio of thefts.
The play in the European Championships will certainly aid Gari as she prepares for her second season in the Sun City. Gari showed off a versatile skill set as a true freshman. She played in all 32 contests, including 23 starts, and averaged 5.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists, in a solid first season.
Gari recorded seven double-digit scoring games, including a career-best 19 points & grabbed five boards in the Miners’ rout of I-10 rival NM State, 66-44, (12/5/12). That effort, combined with a 14-point, five rebound showing in triumph vs. ENMU (12/8/12) helped her earn Conference USA Freshman of the Week accolades (12/10).
She was third on the team in three pointers made (20), including a clutch trey with 34 seconds left to put UTEP ahead (54-52) for good in an eventual conquest of UAB in the 2013 C-USA quarterfinals (3/14/13). She also showed off a good passing touch with 50 assists, including a lob to Anete Steinberga for the game-winning lay-up with 10 seconds to play at Rice (1/24/13).
For complete tournament information, visit http://lithuania2013.fiba.com
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