June 30, 2016
BATON ROUGE, LA. – LSU women’s basketball point guard Rina Hill dreams of playing in the 2020 Olympics for her native Japan. She moves one step closer to realizing her goal when she travels this weekend to Colorado Springs, Colo., for Japan’s University National Team camp held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
A native of Nagoya-Shi, Japan, Hill is one of 15 athletes who will be showcasing their talents in hopes of landing one of the 12 spots on the Japanese squad that will participate in the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei, Chinese Taipei. The Universiade is an international sporting and cultural festival which is staged every two years in a different city, and is only second to the Olympic Games. It will be held Aug. 19-30, 2017.
“This is such a special opportunity for not only one of the top point guards in the SEC, but also in the country,” said LSU head coach Nikki Fargas. “Rina is the hardest worker and a true ambassador for our program, and we wish her the best in Colorado Springs.
“We are so excited for Rina to get this tremendous opportunity,” added Fargas. “We know that she will not let anyone outwork or outhustle her at the camp.”
Hill, who will be a senior for the 2016-17 women’s basketball season, was invited to the camp by Japan Basketball Association staff. The camp runs July 2-8 and is for players who are currently playing collegiately in Japan or the United States, though Hill is the only U.S. player headed to the training camp.
“I am actually pretty excited about this,” said Hill. “It’s going to be very different. The coaching style, the basketball style is going to be different. I think it will be a good experience for me learning new things and it should be fun. I know some of the girls from back home so I won’t be jumping in as a total stranger of the group so that is a positive for me.”
Following the training camp, the final roster of 12 players will be selected to compete in the 29th Universiade next summer.
“If I make the final roster, I will play in the World Championship for the University team in Taipei next year,” explained Hill. “It is totally different from the national team that will play in the Olympics, but I have seen players who have worked their way up from playing on the University National Team. It’s not impossible to work my way up and hopefully I can do that, which is my goal.”
In her three seasons, Hill has started 62 of her 96 career games and was the only Lady Tiger to start all 31 games last season. She has scored in double figures in 19 career games, including nine of the final 12 games in 2015-16. She was the team’s second leading scorer in SEC games with 9.4 points per contest. For her career, she totals 498 points, 143 assists, 150 rebounds and 63 steals. Hill excels in the classroom as well, with a major in business and a minor in Chinese. She has received SEC Honor Roll recognition all three seasons at LSU.
“Rina is the hardest worker on our team,” said teammate Raigyne Moncrief. “She sets the tone for all of us. She is a leader who leads by example. She is a great point guard who handles the floor and balances everything for us. She is mentally strong and we all try to be like her. I am excited for her to get this chance. It is well deserved because she works hard for it every day.”