Fifty-Four Athletes To Participate In 2015 USA Basketball Women’s Pan American Games And World University Games Team Trials
Including 2014 FIBA World Champion Breanna Stewart (Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.) and 16 players overall who have won at least one gold medal with USA Basketball, 54 of the nation’s best collegiate basketball players accepted invitations to attend the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s Pan American Games and World University Games Team Trials, which will take place May 14-17 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee issued the invitations.
Trials will be used to determine the rosters for the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team and the 2015 USA Women’s World University Games Team. The 12 members of each squad, or finalists for each team, will be announced on the morning of May 17.
Players eligible for the 2015 U.S. Pan American Games and USA World University Games teams must be U.S. citizens who currently are enrolled as full-time college students with remaining eligibility for the 2015-16 school year.
“We have more than enough talent to field two teams from among this group,” said Jim Foster (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga), chair of the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee. “It will be a very competitive trials as there are a number of very good players with vast USA Basketball experience and a very attractive group of first-time invitees.”
The 16 USA Basketball gold medalists attending trials include: Lexie Brown (Maryland/Suwanee, Ga.); Jordin Canada (UCLA/Los Angeles, Calif.); Kaela Davis (Georgia Tech/Suwanee, Ga.); Diamond DeShields (Tennessee/Norcross, Ga.); Rebecca Greenwell (Duke/Owensboro, Ky.); Linnae Harper (Kentucky/Chicago, Ill.); Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut/Glenn Heights, Texas); Alexis Jones (Baylor/Irving, Texas); Stephanie Mavunga (North Carolina/Brownsburg, Ind.); Erica McCall (Stanford/Bakersfield, Calif.); Imani McGee-Stafford (Texas/Los Angeles, Calif.); Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina/Charlotte, N.C.); Kelsey Plum (Washington/Poway, Calif.); Taya Reimer (Notre Dame/Fishers, Ind.); Mercedes Russell (Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.); and Stewart.
Ten attendees previously have participated in at least one USA Basketball trials, including: Jillian Alleyne (Oregon/Fontana, Calif.); Ameryst Alston (Ohio State/Canton, Ohio); Alaina Coates (South Carolina/Irmo, S.C.); Allisha Gray (North Carolina/Sandersville, Ga.); Jessica Jackson (Arkansas/Jacksonville, Ark.); Whitney Knight (FGCU/Winston-Salem, N.C.); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State/Cincinnati, Ohio); Courtney Walker (Texas A&M/Edmond, Okla.); Sydney Wiese (Oregon State/Phoenix, Ariz.); and Courtney Williams (Texas A&M/Houston, Texas).
Twenty-eight players will be participating in their first USA Basketball event, including: Sophie Brunner (Arizona State/Freeport, Ill.); Kahleah Copper (Rutgers/Philadelphia, Pa.); Caroline Coyer (Villanova/Oak Hill, Va.); Nina Davis (Baylor/Memphis, Tenn.); Aliyyah Handford (St. John's/Newark, N.J.); Alexa Hart (Ohio State/Columbus, Ohio); Katie Hempen (Arizona State/Highland, Ill.); Myisha Hines-Allen (Louisville/Montclair, N.J.); Bria Holmes (West Virginia/New Haven, Conn.); Tori Jankoska (Michigan State/Freeland, Mich.); Mercedes Jefflo (California/Compton, Calif.); Chanise Jenkins (DePaul/Chicago, Ill.); Alisia Jenkins (South Florida/Stateboro, Ga.); Kaylee Johnson (Stanford/Casper, Wyo.); Brionna Jones (Maryland/Havre de Grace, Md.); Jasmine Joyner (Chattanooga/Southaven, Miss.); Kelsey Lang (Texas/The Woodlands, Texas); Adrienne Motley (Miami/Newport News, Va.); Aerial Powers (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.); Courtney Range (California/Manteca, Calif.); Ivey Slaughter (Florida State/Macon, Ga.); Annie Tarakchian (Princeton/West Hills, Calif.); Lili Thompson (Stanford/Mansfield, Texas); Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State/Carthage, Miss.); Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (Maryland/Aliquippa, Pa.); Caira Washington (George Washington/Brandywine, Md.); Kaylon Williams (Oklahoma/Midwest City, Okla.); and Courtney Williams (South Florida/Folkston, Ga.).
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.
Northwestern University head coach Joe McKeown will be head coach of the 2015 USA Women’s World University Games Team, with assistant coaches Holly Warlick from the University of Tennessee and Tanya Warren from the University of Northern Iowa.
Trials begin with a 6:30-8:15 p.m. (all times are local, Mountain Daylight Time) session on May 14, followed by sessions at 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. on May 15 and 16.
The Pan American Games and World University Games team trials will take place on the same days as the 2015 USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team Trials, although at different times. Several U19 participants, because they have played a year of college basketball, are eligible for the Pan American and World University Games competitions.
Two players, Tiffany Mitchell and Stewart, recently took part in the USA Women’s National Team mini-camp from May 4-6 in Las Vegas, though Stewart is the only current member of the 2014-16 USA Women’s National Team.
In 2014, Stewart helped USA Basketball to gold at the 2014 FIBA World Championship, while Tiffany Mitchell won gold in 2014 at the FIBA 3x3 World Championship.
Five players won gold together at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, including Harper, Jefferson, Alexis Jones, Plum and Stewart.
The gold-medal winning 2012 USA U18 National Team featured Brown and Stewart; and winning gold at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship were Kaela Davis, DeShields, Greenwell, Harper, McCall, Reimer and Russell.
Playing together on the 2011 U16 National Team were Canada, Kaela Davis, Greenwell, Harper, Mavunga, McCall, Reimer, Russell.
DeShields, Alexis Jones and Stewart earned gold at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
In 2010, DeShields, and Alexis Jones teamed up to help the USA to gold at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, while McGee-Stafford and Stewart were champions at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.
Finally, Stewart earned her first gold medal at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship; while Kaela Davis, DeShields and McCall won gold at the 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship.
Nineteen players are from the collegiate class of 2016, 30 are from the class of 2017 and five are on pace to graduate in 2018.
Three schools have three players at trials: Maryland in Brown, Brionna Jones and Walker-Kimbrough; Ohio State in Alston, Hart and Kelsey Mitchell; and Stanford in Johnson, McCall and Thompson.
The remaining sets of teammates include: Hempen and Brunner (Arizona State); Davis and Alexis Jones (Baylor); Jefflo and Range (California); Jefferson and Stewart (Connecticut); Jankoska and Powers (Michigan State); Gray and Mavunga (North Carolina); Coates and Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina); Jenkins and Courtney M. Williams (South Florida); DeShields and Russell (Tennessee); Lang and McGee-Stafford (Texas); and Walker and Courtney B. Williams (Texas A&M).
In addition to Foster, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt), Lindsay Gottlieb (California) and Joi Williams (UCF); and athlete representative Kara Lawson Barling, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.
Pan American Games
The selected 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).
World University Games
The selected USA players and coaches for the 2015 USA World University Games Team will return to Colorado Springs for training camp on June 18-July 2, before departing for the event. The 2015 World University Games women’s basketball competition will be held July 4-13 in Gwangju, South Korea.
The USA women have drawn Group C and will play Italy at 10 a.m. (all times listed are local, Gwangju is +13 hours from EDT) on July 5, China at 5:30 p.m. on July 6 and Czech Republic at 8 p.m. on July 7. Playing in Group A will be Canada, Hungary, Mozambique and South Korea; Group B includes Japan, Mexico, Russia and Sweden; and Group D features Australia, Brazil, Taipei and Uganda.
The quarterfinals will be played on July 9, the semifinals are on July 11, the bronze medal game is on July 12 and the gold medal game is set for July 13.
Held every other year, the World University Games is organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The WUGs are a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born between 1/1/88 and 12/31/98), who are enrolled as a full-time college student with remaining eligibility for the 2015-16 school year.
USA Basketball women’s teams have participated in 17 World University Games and collected a record nine golds, six silvers and one bronze medal. Since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the World University Games, USA women’s teams have compiled a 101-15 all-time record. The USA has won gold medals in the past five WUGs in which it has competed (2001, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013).
In 2013, led by tournament co-MVP Odyssey Sims, who went on to earn gold as a member of the 2014 USA World Championship Team, the USA won by an average of 34.8 points per game and finished 6-0 to claim the gold medal.
Notable among the list of USA WUG alumni are 2012 Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore. Additionally, Olympians Carol Blazejowski, Ruthie Bolton, Anne Donovan, Pat Head (Summitt), Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Suzie McConnell (Serio), Ann Meyers (Drysdale), DeLisha Milton-Jones, Cappie Pondexter, Ruth Riley, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding, Tina Thompson, Kara Wolters and Lynette Woodward played for the USA in the World University Games.
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Basketball, chaired by Jerry Colangelo, is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.
USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions in the Olympics; men’s FIBA World Cup and women’s FIBA World Championship; men’s and women’s FIBA U19 and U17 World Championships; men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships; the FIBA 3x3 Women’s World Championship; the FIBA 3x3 Women’s U18 World Championship and the women’s Youth Olympic Games. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world-ranking categories, including combined, men’s, women’s, boys and girls.