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After 16 finalists participated in six days of trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball today announced its final, 12-player 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team. The USA women will compete in the 2010 FI

USA Basketball Announces 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team

Colorado Springs, Colo. - June 13, 2010

 
After 16 finalists participated in six days of trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball today announced its final, 12-player 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team. The USA women will compete in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, June 23-27 at the USOTC. The tournament will take place in Sports Center I and is open to the public.

"I'm real excited to get going," said Jen Rizzotti, USA U18 and University of Hartford head coach. "With 12 players, now, you know your pieces and you know your strengths and your weaknesses, so we can decide what we want to do. The next phase is about to begin, and we're real excited to fine tune some things and really get ready for the start of the tournament next week."

The 12-player roster includes: Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.); Stefanie Dolson (Minisink Valley H.S./Port Jervis, N.Y.); Reshanda Gray (Washington Prep H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.);  Cassie Harberts (San Clemente H.S./San Clemente, Calif.); Bria Hartley (North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, N.Y.); Malina Howard (Twinsburg H.S./Twinsburg, Ohio); Alexis Jones (MacArthur H.S./Irving, Texas); Allyson Malott (Madison H.S./Middletown, Ohio); Kayla McBride (Villa Maria Academy/Erie, Pa.); Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S./Cypress, Texas); Cassie Peoples (Cy-Fair H.S./Houston, Texas) and Theresa Plaisance (Vandebilt Catholic H.S./Marrero, La.).

Players must have been born on or before Jan. 1, 1992 to be eligible for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, and the selections were made by the USA Junior National Team Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president for Division I women's basketball. The committee also includes Joanne Boyle (University of California head coach), Coquese Washington (Penn State University head coach), Connie Yori (University of Nebraska head coach) and athlete representative Beth Cunningham (1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).

From June 8-11, 27 players battled during three days of trials for the USA U18 National Team, and 36 additional athletes competed in the USA U17 World Championship Team Trials. The USA Junior National Team Committee chose 16 finalists " 12 from the U18 trials and four from the U17 trials " to vie amongst each other for the 12 USA U18 National Team roster spots over four more trials sessions, which culminated with today's selections.

The team will now stay in Colorado Springs to train before competing in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women.

Rizzotti, an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning 2006 USA U18 National Team, will be assisted by Florida State University head coach Sue Semrau and University of Central Florida head coach Joi Williams, both of whom are first-time USA coaches.

Of the 16 finalists, three " Howard, Jones and Ogwumike " have previous USA Basketball experience.

Both Howard and Jones participated in the 2009 USA U16 National Team Trials, and Ogwumike, who earned numerous 2010 National Player of the Year honors, took part in the trials for the 2008 USA U18 National Team despite being just 16 years old at the time.

Five of the 12 team members played in the 2010 McDonald's All-American game in March, including Dolson, Hartley, McBride, Ogwumike and Plaisance. Harberts, Hartley and Ogwumike also played in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Game in April, and Ogwumike led all scorers with 24 points.

Additionally, Parade Magazine recognized Hartley and Ogwumike as All-America first team members; McBride as a second team member; Harberts as a member of third team; and DeShields and Dolson as members of the fourth team.

USA Today also named Ogwumike to its All-USA first team, and chose her as its 2010 Player of the Year. Hartley made the All-USA second team, and Dolson was an All-USA third team member.

While Ogwumike was named both the Gatorade National and Texas State Player of the Year, Hartley (New York), McBride (Pennsylvania) and Plaisance (Louisiana) also earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors in their respective states.

The finalists also features a pair of accomplished teammates, Ogwumike and Peoples, who together led Cy-Fair to a Class 5A Texas state championship and a No. 6 national ranking by USA Today.

The FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women tournament format features eight teams divided into two preliminary round groups: Canada, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico in Group A; and Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the USA in Group B. Preliminary round play will be held June 23, 24 and 25, and each team will play the other three teams in its preliminary group. The top two finishing teams in each preliminary round group will then advance to the June 26 medal round semifinals and play for 1st-4th places. Teams placing third and fourth in each preliminary round group will advance to the June 26 consolation semifinals and play for 5th-8th places. The FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women finals will be held Sunday, June 27.

The top four finishing teams in this year's FIBA Americas U18 Championship will earn berths in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.

Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event had been held every four years since 1988. FIBA has since changed its calendar, though, and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.

USA women's teams have an impressive 33-2 overall record in U18/Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008, while capturing silver in 1992 and 1998.