HOLLINGSWORTH, TURKEY LOCK UP OLYMPIC BID

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Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth averaged 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in three games to help Turkey to its first-ever Olympic bid.

ANKARA, Turkey – It’s official. Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth and Turkey are headed to the 2012 London Olympics.

Hollingsworth scored 12 points and added eight rebounds in Turkey’s 72-58 win over Argentina Friday in the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament Quarterfinals to send the Turks to the Olympic Games for the first time.

In three games – all victories – Hollingsworth has averaged 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds for Turkey. The Turks advance to the tournament semifinals on Sunday, but it’s essentially academic. Turkey has already locked up one of five Olympic bid available in Ankara.

Hollingsworth, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Turkey, will be one of two Rams to participate in the Olympics in recent years. Hayley Moorwood was a member of New Zealand’s women’s soccer squad at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.

A member of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, Hollingsworth starred at VCU from 2005-09 and led the Rams to their first NCAA Tournament bid in 2009. Hollingsworth ranks third in school history in points and is second in rebounds and double-doubles.

QUANITRA HOLLINGSWORTH: TURKISH CITIZEN, OLYMPIAN?

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Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingworth (left) will try to lead Turkey to the 2012 Olympics in London this summer.

Quanitra Hollingsworth has always been a few years ahead of her peers. Not just in the classroom, where she skipped two years of middle school, not just on the basketball court, where she was dominant, but the way she approached life.

Even as a 16-year-old redshirt freshman at VCU during the 2005-06 season, she was already talking about more adult ventures like traveling Europe and seeing the world. Basketball was never her station in life. It was her vehicle.

“Everyone always assumes the WNBA was my big dream. I could’ve cared less about the WNBA until I was a senior in college,” Hollingsworth, 24, said. “I always wanted to learn about other countries. I didn’t want to be placed in a box. I wanted to experience everything.”

As if playing professionally in Lithuania, Latvia and Hungary the last three years wasn’t enough, Hollingsworth, who is also a member of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, has decided to take her European immersion to another level.

Hollingsworth was recently granted Turkish citizenship, a step that allowed her to become a member of the Turkish National Team ahead of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London. On the heels of a Hungarian Championship with Uni Seat Gyor last month, Hollingsworth is set to depart for Istanbul on May 12 for the Turkish National Team’s training camp.

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