Female Israeli Hoopster Slays UConn Goliath

By Rob Charry

Published March 05, 2004, issue of March 05, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

PHILADELPHIA — When the two-time defending champion University of Connecticut Huskies — the Goliath of NCAA women’s basketball — were upset last weekend, it was an Israeli hoops sensation who delivered the final blow.

Liad Suez, a 22-year-old sophomore, made all eight of her shots in the second half, including the game-winner, to lead the Villanova University Wildcats to a 59-56 victory over UConn.

“It was one of those days when you get into a rhythm and everything goes,” Suez told the Forward two days after her team’s big win. “I couldn’t really believe that we just beat UConn.”

Suez, who under NCAA rules governing international players was forced to sit out her first year at Villanova, a Catholic institution in suburban Philadelphia, has led the young team, along with senior Courtney Mix (daughter of former NBA player Steve Mix), to a record of 22 wins and 5 losses and a Top 25 ranking. At 6-foot-2, the Israeli native is extremely versatile, capable of playing nearly every position on the court. She leads the team in scoring with an average 13.8 points per game, and ranks second on the squad in rebounding and assists.

Suez comes from a very athletic family: Her father, Sami, played basketball in Israel for a professional team in Afula, her mother, Tami, was a physical education teacher, and her older brother, Maoz, plays basketball for Kutztown University in Allentown, Pa.

Ironically, while growing up, Suez followed the UConn men’s team and its Israeli stars, Nadav Henefeld and Doron Sheffer. Suez said that she was motivated by “watching Doron Sheffer play and just seeing the whole environment of college basketball and how much fun it is.” While Suez did consider playing for UConn (Israel’s Orly Grossman played for the Lady Huskies in the early 1990’s), her main goal was just to compete somewhere in the United States.

It was an chance meeting that eventually brought Suez from Israel to play for Villanova coach Harry Perretta. “One of Harry’s friends, Howie Landa, came to a clinic in Israel and accidentally saw me play,” Suez said.

Landa, who was coaching the U.S. men’s Maccabiah team at the time, mentioned Suez to Perretta, who then sent assistant coach Joe Mullaney to scout her. The reviews were great and Suez was on her way to Villanova.

This summer, Suez will return to Israel for her wedding (she was actually married last April in the United States, but will be having a larger, traditional Jewish ceremony in Israel). As for the immediate future, Suez and Villanova are hoping to extend their season as long as they can. The Big East Tournament starts this weekend and the NCAA tournament begins in mid-March.

Suez has proven to be a prized recruit, but she started off slowly in the UConn game, making only one of her shots in the first half, which ended with Villanova down by six points.

Perretta claims that he didn’t offer up any words of wisdom to his players at halftime. “I didn’t say anything,” the coach said. “I just let them alone.”

The strategic silence worked, especially in the case of Suez, who didn’t miss a shot in the second half. With 59 seconds left, and the score tied at 54, Perretta called Suez’s number, and she hit a turnaround jumper from just inside the three-point line to give Villanova the lead for good.

Suez then sank two free throws to clinch the win, giving her 23 points on the night. “Some teams are athletic, some are strong, some are really good shooters. [The Huskies are] all of the above,” Suez said. “It’s challenging. When you play the best, you have to push yourself to match their level.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.