Linnae Harper wins gold with USA at World Championships

UK Hoops freshman guard Linnae Haper (right) and Duke junior guard Alexis Jones (left) celebrate capturing gold at the U-19 World Championships with a win over France in the final in Klaipeda, Lithuania on Sunday, July 28, 2013. Photo courtesy of USA Basketball

By Tom Hurley | @TomHurley

thurley@kykernel.com

Freshman guard Linnae Harper will have a golden smile when she arrives in Lexington for her debut season with UK Hoops this season after helping USA (9-0) overcome France (7-2) to win the U-19 World Championships on Sunday.

Harper contributed six points, three rebounds and two steals as USA defeated France, 61-28, in the gold medal game in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

The guard out of Whitney Young High School (Chicago) says that the experience of being part of the tournament winning team will be a big boost as she heads into her first season with the Cats.

“It’s going to really help me with my confidence and also with my game,” Harper said to USA Basketball after the win. “Being around college players and playing with them, I kind of know a little bit about college ball.”

Harper credits USA head coach Katie Meier, also women’s basketball head coach at the University of Miami, in helping her prepare for her first year of college basketball.

“Playing for coach Meier, she’s a college coach, so that really helped me a lot,” Harper said. “I think I’ll be ready for Kentucky.”

Harper averaged 8.4 points in 21.6 minutes per game during the tournament as USA captured gold for the fifth successive year.

Cats fans will get their first chance to see Harper in the blue-and-white of UK at Big Blue Madness on Oct. 18.