Roster Named For U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team
Following three days of trials that featured 51 athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 12-member roster for the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team today was announced and features seven players who have won at least one gold medal with USA Basketball.
The retuning gold medalists include: Linnae Harper (Kentucky/Chicago, Ill.); Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut/Glenn Heights, Texas); Stephanie Mavunga (North Carolina/Brownsburg, Ind.); Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina/Charlotte, N.C.); Kelsey Plum (Washington/Poway, Calif.); Taya Reimer (Notre Dame/Fishers, Ind.); and Breanna Stewart (Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.).
Playing on their first USA Basketball team will be: Sophie Brunner (Arizona State/Freeport, Ill.); Alaina Coates (South Carolina/Irmo, S.C.); Caroline Coyer (Villanova/Oak Hill, Va.); Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (Maryland/Aliquippa, Pa.); and Courtney Williams (Texas A&M/Houston, Texas).
The University of Iowa’s Lisa Bluder will lead the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team, along with assistant coaches Michelle Clark-Heard of Western Kentucky University and Scott Rueck of Oregon State University.
“I’m very excited,” Bluder said. “I think we have a tremendous team. I think we have excellence at every position. And now, we are set on the gold.
“Even though we have the best college players, we will be going against professionals from other countries. It helps that Breanna has been there before, and I think that experience is amazing. Now that we have our team, we just have to wait until we come back for training camp on July 3, you just want to get going.”
In the 2011 Pan American Games, Stewart was the youngest member and only high-schooler on a the USA team, which finished 2-2, and she was just the second high school basketball player to compete for USA in the Pan Ams.
Overall, Stewart owns six gold medals with USA Basketball, while Harper has collected three gold medals, Reimer owns two and Jefferson, Mavunga, Mitchell and Plum each have won one gold medal.
Players eligible for the U.S. Pan American Games Team must be U.S. citizens who currently are enrolled as full-time college students with remaining eligibility for the 2015-16 school year.
The U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team players and coaches will return to Colorado on July 3 for the start of training camp and will depart for the competition in Toronto, Canada, on July 8. The 2015 Pan American Games women’s basketball competition will take place July 16-20.
The USA women have been placed into Group A and will take on Brazil on July 16, Dominican Republic on July 17 and Puerto Rico on July 18 in the preliminary round. Competing in Group B will be Argentina, Canada, Cuba and Venezuela.
The top two teams from each preliminary-round group will advance to the medal-round semifinals on July 19, while the third and fourth-placed teams will for fifth-eighth places. The semifinal winners will compete for the gold medal on July 20, while the semifinal losers will play for bronze.
The Pan Ams are a multi-sport event featuring teams from North, South and Central American and the Caribbean that are organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and played every four years in the year preceding the Olympics (2015, 2019, etc.).
Since the first Pan American Games for women in 1955, the USA has compiled an overall record of 87-15 and won eight gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals.
Most recently in 2011, a U.S. team comprised of collegians and one high school senior in Stewart that began training just one week prior to its first game, finished in seventh place with a 2-2 record. The USA’s last gold medal came in 2007, under the direction of 10-time USA Basketball gold medalist Dawn Staley.
Notable U.S. players to have taken part in the Pan American Games include: Jennifer Azzi (1991); Cynthia Cooper-Dyke (1987); Anne Donovan (1987 and 1983); Teresa Edwards (1991 and 1987); Pat (Head) Summit (1975); Nancy Lieberman (1979 and 1975); Katrina McClain (1991 and 1987); Carla McGhee (1995); Ann (Meyers) Drysdale (1979 and 1975); Cheryl Miller (1983); Dawn Staley (1995); and Sheryl Swoopes (1995).