Busse tours Brazil with USA DII Women’s Basketball Team

Photo courtesy of Bob Berry, WSC Sports Information Halley Busse drives into the paint in a women’s basketball game last season with Wayne State University in Nebraska. Busse started all 30 games for the Wildcats last season.

WINTHROP — Former Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop standout girls’ basketball player Halley Busse recently returned from a trip to Brazil with the 2019 USA Division 2 Women’s Basketball Team.

While there, she picked up memories, wins and continued to improve her game while taking in a different culture with some of the USA’s finest DII players.

Busse, GFW’s all-time leading scorer with 3,174 points, wrapped up her sophomore year of basketball at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska this past winter and was glad to get the opportunity to travel to another country to play the game she loves this summer with some other top NCAA DII players.

After former college teammate Maggie Schulte informed Busse that Ron Smith, Director of USA Sports Tours & Events, was asking for Busse’s information about joining the USA basketball tour of Brazil, Busse passed her information on. She was then asked in an email by Smith if she was interested in taking the trip to Brazil with the women’s team.

After initially worrying about the financial side of taking the big trip, Busse decided that the chance to play in another country with a group of talented individuals was too good to pass on and accepted the offer.

Submitted photo The USA DII men and women players take a group photo on the day of their third game in Brazil against Queimados.

After first meeting her teammates in Orlando, Florida, Busse and the team left for Brazil on July 22, arriving in Jundiai, Brazil, the next day.

“We were in Jundiai, it’s a different city in Brazil and we were there for three days, I believe,” Busse said. “So the first day we kind of just hung out because we were all pretty tired from travelling, and then the next two days we played games. And then after our last game, that next morning we went to Rio, and we were there for five days.”

While in Rio de Janeiro, the team played another two games, one on July 27 and one on July 29, and continued to tour many different recognizable landmarks during the trip.

“We went to [the Lapa Steps] and then we went to some markets,” Busse said. “And while we were in Rio, we traveled a bunch. We saw the Christ the Redeemer Statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain we went on, so they made sure that we saw everything while we were there, too.”

Although Busse didn’t have anyone on her team that she knew well, she did have four players that she played against in college in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, the conference that Wayne State plays in. Despite those circumstances, she said it was a very good experience and she got to know them better during her stay in Brazil.

Submitted photo Busse, far right in front, poses with teammates and the American flag on the day of Team USA’s second game of the Brazil trip at the Bolao in Jundiai.

Team USA, head coached by Missouri Southern State University women’s head basketball coach Ronnie Ressel, played against multiple different Brazilian clubs, including two pro teams.

“Our first game we played was actually against, they said it was an 18 and under, but they were like their No. 1 club team in Brazil [Bradesco],” she said. “They said that these girls were trying to play in America eventually. That was our first game, and our last two games we played were against pro teams. They had a few of the same players, so I think they just get together and play. It was a different culture because they don’t have teams like we do, they’re just clubs. Especially for the women, is what I’ve learned from other Brazilian people, is that they don’t have a lot of money put into it for the females, especially, and all that. It takes a lot to get a girls’ team going.”

In USA’s first game, they defeated Bradesco 77-61 before breezing by Jundiai 123-47. Busse added 2 points in USA’s first game before scoring a trip-high 18 points in the blowout win over Jundiai. USA then topped Queimados 76-48 before winning its final game of the trip against Fluminense FC 87-56. Busse scored 13 against Queimados and 8 against Fluminense FC.

Despite the blowout wins, there were certain things Busse and Team USA had to get used to and get around against the Brazilian teams.

“The first team we played was kind of like a little shock to us because they were quick and they full-court pressed,” she said. “And they don’t really call hand-checks, which we’re told so often, ‘Get you’re hands off, get you’re hands off.’ So we’re kind of like, ‘Isn’t that a foul?’ But you can’t talk to the refs about it, so then we just had to adjust and throughout the other games, we learned that that’s okay to do [in Brazil]. And it was our first game, so it was getting comfortable playing with each other. But I also think the very last team we played [Fluminense] was a very talented team. We really had to try to pull away from them, too. That was a game also.”

Photo courtesy of Bob Berry, WSC Sports Information Busse dribbles by a defender in a women’s basketball game last season with Wayne State. Busse averaged 11.7 points per game with the Wildcats last year in her sophomore campaign.



Averaging 5.8 points and 2.2 assists per game in 18.5 minutes per contest as a freshman, Busse’s minutes increased and her averages improved as a result in her sophomore year at Wayne State, a common occurrence for many college players. The point guard started all 30 games as a sophomore and scored 11.7 ppg, had 3.6 apg and pulled in 3.5 rebounds per game.

Busse said that those improvements came from becoming more of a leader and worrying less about being the best and trying to do too much.

“[As a sophomore] it’s more about how you’re going to lead on the floor as a point guard, how you’re going to facilitate and make sure everyone is in the right place and is organized versus thinking so much about yourself and how you’re performing,” she said. “As a freshman, you’re really concerned about yourself. Being a sophomore was nice to just have that [first year] out of the way and it’s just focusing on being the best teammate and getting other people to be good teammates and working on that. So that was a good mindset and it was a really fun year.”

Submitted photo The USA DII Men’s and Women’s teams pose after practicing at Clube Jundiaiense.

She now turns her attention to her junior year this winter for the Wildcats, where she has two years of experience under her belt.

“I’m really excited for what’s to come,” Busse said. “We have a lot of people back that played a good amount of minutes last year and we have six freshman coming in, so that will be a good addition to our team, having more of that diversity and a variety of players. So it’ll be fun. I’m not really sure what to expect, honestly, but I know that we’re only going to get better.”


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