USA Basketball Announces 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team
Including nine athletes who helped the USA earn its FIBA U17 World Championship berth with a gold medal in the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women, USA Basketball today announced the official 12-member roster for the 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team. The selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Developmental National Team Committee, following three days of trials June 8-10 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
'I'm very excited about my 12-person roster,' said Barbara Nelson, USA U17 and Wingate University head coach. 'We have a lot of kids that have international experience, which is great, especially since we open up with France, the host team. It's great that we have a lot of girls that have experience, but the two new players, I think bring another element that maybe we didn't have, and that's exciting, too.
'We are awfully big and awfully tall, and I think that's very important in the international game,' Nelson continued. 'I think that's a very important piece that we have, and we'll have to really play on that. I think our threes, fours and fives are probably the best threes, fours and fives in the world, not just the nation. I think our biggest piece will be where's our ball handling, where's our outside shooting, and that's what the next couple of days will be all about.'
Returning from the inaugural U16 National Team are 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship MVP Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.) and the USA's leading scorer Kaleena Lewis (Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif.); as well as Jordan Adams (Mater Dei H.S./Irvine, Calif.); Cierra Burdick (Butler H.S./Matthews, N.C.); Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S./Clarksville, Tenn.); Betnijah Laney (Smyrna H.S./Clayton, Del.); Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.); Breanna Stewart (Cicero North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.); and Alexyz Vaioletama (Mater Dei H.S./Fountain Valley, Calif.).
Rounding out the roster are: Bria Smith (Christ the King H.S./Massapequa, N.Y.); Imani Stafford (Winward H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); and Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.).
The USA will compete in the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship July 16-25 in Rodez and Toulouse, France. Players eligible for this competition must be a U.S. citizen born on or after Jan. 1, 1993.
The 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team will remain in Colorado Springs for training through June 15, and then reassemble in Washington, D.C., for training July 5-7. The USA will play several practice games in Spain prior to arriving in Rodez, France, where it will began games on July 16.
The United States was drawn into Preliminary Round Group A for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship, along with host country France, Canada, Japan, Russia and Turkey. Competing in Preliminary Round Group B will be Argentina, Australia, Belgium, China, Mali and Spain.
The USA will open play on July 16 against tournament host France at 8:30 p.m. (all times are CEST, which is +6 from EDT) followed by Russia at 5:30 p.m. on July 17 and Canada at 3:00 p.m. on July 18. Following a day off on July 19, the USA will wrap up preliminary round play against Turkey at 5:30 p.m. on July 20 and Japan at 5:30 p.m. on July 21.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to the medal quarterfinals, scheduled for July 23, the semifinals are slated for July 24 and the gold and bronze medal games will be contested July 25. Games times and venues are still to be announced.
Nelson of Wingate University returns to serve as head coach for the USA, as do her 2009 assistant coaches Mike Armstrong of Perry Meridian High School (Ind.) and Dorena Bingham of Team Alaska AAU. The trio led the USA past opponents by an average of 70.0 points per game Aug. 10-14 in Mexico City, Mexico, capturing in impressive style the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 title and the USA's berth into the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.
In the 2009 U16 zone championship, Lewis averaged 14.0 ppg., followed by Williams with 13.4 ppg. and a team-high 5.2 rpg., Laney with 13.2 ppg. and Massengale with 12.0 ppg. and a team-high 4.8 apg. Additionally, Stewart averaged 9.6 ppg., Adams contributed 7.8 ppg., Vaioletama scored 7.4 ppg., Burdick tallied 6.8 ppg. and Graves added 6.4 ppg.
While Smith and Stafford are new to USA Basketball, Tuck was named to the 2009 USA U16 National Team but was sidelined by injury.
Seven players are a member of the class of 2011, and five players will graduate in 2012.
Five players will be among high school teammates at trials. Adams, Lewis and Vaioletama play together at Mater Dei High School in California, and Massengale and Tuck are teammates at Bollingbrook High School in Illinois.
Despite their status as underclassmen, 10 players received national attention for outstanding play.
Lewis was named to the 2009-10 USA Today All-USA first team, while Williams was honored as a All-USA third team member.
Parade Magazine recognized Lewis and Williams as All-America first team members, Adams, Massengale and Tuck were All-America second team honorees, Burdick and Smith listed on the Parade All-America third team and Graves and Stewart listed on the fourth team.
Gatorade honored Burdick (North Carolina), Laney (Deleware) and Williams (Virginia) as a State Player of the Year.
Six players helped their high school teams finish the 2009-10 season ranked among USA Today's Super 25 index. Jordan Adams, Kaleena Lewis and Alexyz Vaioletama led Mater Dei to a USA Today Super 25 No. 1 final ranking and a No. 1 ranking in the West region. Ariel Massengale and Morgan Tuck helped Bolingbrook to a No. 5 Super 25 final ranking and No. 2 ranking in the Midwest region. Bria Smith led Christ the King to a No. 12 final ranking and a No. 3 rank in the East region.
The USA Basketball Women's Developmental Committee, chaired in non-voting position by Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director, also includes: NFHS representatives Jill Meerman (Decatur Central High School, Ind.) and Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty High School, Calif.); AAU appointees Jody Patrick (Vogues AAU, Va.) and Brian Robinson (Stealers AAU, N.C.); as well as athlete representative Ruthie Bolton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.