Ogonna was born in Bloomington, Illinois and attended University High School in Normal, Illinois, where she also played basketball. She has a younger sister Njideka who also played volleyball at Stanford University, and two brothers, Nnaemeka and Ikechi.
Nnamani was considered the top high school recruit for her class, as she was recruited by major universities in 49 of the 50 U.S. States and won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award as a senior in high school.
She is closely related to senate president Ken Nnamani of Nigeria, and also former Enugu state governor Chimaroke Nnamani. Her father, Chika Nnamani, is former Assistant Vice President and Director of Housing at Illinois State University.
Ogonna's family is originally from Nigeria, and moved to America before Ogonna was born, because of the better educational opportunities. Her last name translates to one who knows the land in the Igbo language.
She graduated from Stanford with a degree in Human Biology.
In 2005, Nnamani garnered media attention for an interview with USA Today where she remarked, "I know you can run a 100-yard dash by yourself or throw a really good pitch on your own. But in volleyball you rely on your team for every skill you perform. The quote was widely reproduced in newspapers when she was in contention for the Honda-Broderick Cup and later in September 2006 when the Italian media reported that she was being sought after by the A-1 teams.
Nnamani made her international professional debut under the Puerto Rican LVSF league for the Pinkin club of Corozal. Under Nnamani's leadership, the Pinkin team reached the finals of the national league for the first time since 1996, finishing second to the Carolina Gigantes.
After an abbreviated season in the Italian A-1 League, Nnamani signed on to Voléro Zürich of Switzerland for 2007. She joined fellow USA Olympian Robyn Ah Mow-Santos on the team. She helped Voléro Zürich team win the Swiss Cup Final, the Championship League and placed fourth in the Indesit European Championship.
After contesting the World Cup in Japan, where the United States took a bronze medal and qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nnamani returned to Italy and joined fellow USA Olympian Lindsey Berg at Asystel Novara. Novara finished with the bronze medal in the Indesit European Championship; highlights for Nnamani included hitting at a .710 percentage on 21 swings against her former team, Volero Zurich, in the playoffs. In January 2008, she was selected by popular vote to join the "All-Star" team for an exhibition game against the Italian National Team in Turin.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Nnamani played in both outside positions, including a 17 point performance in a win that eliminated Poland on August 17, 2008. The United States finished with a silver medal after losing to World No. 1 Brazil, the first time it had made the gold medal match since 1984.
WELL RUNS DRY FOR WEARY UW OGONNA NNAMANI AND STANFORD OVERPOWER THE BADGERS TO ADVANCE TO THE FINAL FOUR.(SPORTS)
Dec 12, 2004; Byline: Vic Feuerherd Wisconsin State Journal ASHWAUBENON -- The emotional well was nearing empty. The needle on the physical...