India Pagan with the ball during the Stony Brook women’s basketball team game against Manhattan on Nov. 8, 2019. Pagan became the first active Stony Brook athlete to participate in the Olympics. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

When India Pagan takes the court this fall, she will do so coming off one of the most enthralling summers for a Seawolves athlete. Having already committed to playing for the Stony Brook women’s basketball team as a graduate student for the 2021-22 season, Pagan represented Puerto Rico during the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. One of the team’s centers, she officially entered the record books by scoring against Belgium as the Puerto Rican women’s national basketball team lost all three of its Group C preliminary round contests.

Puerto Rico opened the Olympics against China on Tuesday, July 27, where Pagan played eight minutes off of the bench, grabbing two rebounds without scoring on two field goals and two free throw attempts in a 97-55 loss. She returned to the court on Thursday, July 29 to face Belgium. Pagan again came off the bench, making the most of her nine minutes of playing time by scoring six points and recording two rebounds as Belgium won 87-52.

The Puerto Rican team was eliminated from the Olympics on Monday, August 2 after a 96-69 loss at the hands of Australia. Pagan saw two minutes of action, hauling in two more rebounds without a shot attempt to conclude her first run as an Olympian. In three games, she combined to play 19 minutes, recording six points and six boards.

“It means a lot to us,” head coach Ashley Langford said about Pagan playing in the Olympics. “Stony Brook, first, as a university, it puts us on a worldly stage. I think for our women’s basketball program, it elevates us, too. It’s something we can brag about, right? We have an Olympian in our women’s basketball program.”

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The Puerto Rican women’s basketball team qualified for the Olympics for the first time back in February 2020, with Pagan herself qualifying for the roster in May of this year. She scored her 1,000th collegiate point in January en route to helping Stony Brook reach its first NCAA Tournament, beating Maine in the America East championship and earning a No. 14 seed and a date with Arizona in a first-round matchup in San Antonio.

Prior to the Olympics, Pagan and the Puerto Rican basketball team competed in the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup, where Puerto Rico earned the silver medal after falling to the United States 74-59 in the finals on June 19. The second-place finish was the highest ever for the national squad, which had competed in 12 AmeriCups dating back to 1993. Pagan played in 13 minutes per game, averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds during the event.

Pagan becomes the third Stony Brook athlete to take part in the Olympics and the first to do so while active during their collegiate career. Roger Gill represented Guyana in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as a member of its 4×400-meter relay team, whereas Lucy Van Dalen ran the 1,500-meter race for New Zealand in the 2012 London Olympics and the 5,000-meter race in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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