Former Indiana women's basketball player Aleksa Gulbe, one of the program's all-time winningest players, competed for Latvia in the 2023 European Women's Basketball Championship, which began June 15. Yarden Garzon, who last season with Indiana set the single-season freshman record for three-pointers made in program history, played for Israel.
Years ago on November 11, 2021, Garzon played for the Israel National Team at the 2023 EuroBasket Qualifiers, scoring 16 points against Latvia. Gulbe had started the season-opener of her senior season playing for the Hoosiers the day before. On November 27, 2022, Gulbe played for Latvia versus Israel in the years continuation of the 2023 EuroBasket Qualifiers. Garzon had scored 17 points with the Hoosiers the previous day, then in her freshman year.
Though the two countries were in the same qualifying group, Gulbe and Garzon didn’t play against each other. Both players swapped playing for the Hoosiers and their national teams when the two countries met in November of 2021 and 2022. In June 2023, Latvia and Israel were placed in separate groups for the 2023 EuroBasket. Neither advanced past pool play.
Gulbe started in Latvia’s first game Thursday against Spain in Tel Aviv, Israel, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds in the 67-63 victory. Latvia, however, lost the next two contests against Greece 73-65 and Montenegro 61-58 on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Had Latvia bested Montenegro, it would’ve advanced to the play-in game to then reach the quarterfinals.
Gulbe was one of Latvia’s top performers versus Greece, scoring 15 points — which tied the team high — to go along with nine rebounds, one shy of a double-double. Against Montenegro, Gulbe scored five points with seven rebounds and a personal-high three assists in the tournament. Gulbe averaged 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and two assists in three starts.
Garzon likewise started all three of Israel's games in Group B at Tel Aviv. Identically to Gulbe, Garzon scored 15 points in the team's second contest of the tournament — which also tied the team-high that day — and averaged 11.3 points across Israel's three losses from Thursday to Sunday. Garzon scored a team-best 13 points against Belgium, 15 against Italy and six against the Czech Republic. The six rebounds versus Belgium tied the team high.
Garzon, whose 45.8 three-point percentage last season with the Hoosiers ranked second all-time in a single season in program history, shot 6-for-10 from beyond the arc in the tournament. It marked the third-highest three-point percentage in the 16-team group stage. Garzon’s sister, Lior, who plays for Oklahoma State University, was also on Israel’s roster. The two started and played on the court together in Israel’s final tournament game Sunday.
The last two play-in games to determine the 2023 EuroBasket quarterfinals will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST at Arena Stožice in Slovenia. The quarterfinals will be hosted at the same venue Thursday. The schedule and how to watch can be found here.