Eight Gold Medalists Highlight 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team
-- A’Ja Wilson To Compete In Second U19 World Championship --
Headlined by 6-foot-3 forward A’ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.), one of the youngest members of the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team and MVP of the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, eight gold medalists were named to the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team. The USA squad is on a quest to capture a sixth-consecutive gold medal at the U19 Worlds, will compete in the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, hosted from July 18-26 in Chekhov, Russia.
The team was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee following three days of trials that featured 34 athletes age 19-and-under (born on or after Jan. 1, 1996), May 14-16, at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The USA team will regroup for training June 30-July 7 at the USOTC prior to traveling to Alicante, Spain, to compete in a round-robin tournament July 11-13 against U19 national teams from Australia, Canada and Spain prior to arriving in Russia for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship.
In addition to Wilson, aiding the USA to the U18 gold medal, which earned USA Basketball a berth in the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, were Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.) and Mariya Moore (Louisville/Richmond, Calif.).
Also named to the squad were 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team gold medalists Kristine Anigwe (Desert Vista H.S./Phoenix, Ariz.); Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas); Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.) and Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.).
Named to their first USA Basketball team were Gabbi Ortiz (Oklahoma/Racine, Wis.); Azurá Stevens (Duke/Raleigh, N.C.); Shakayla Thomas (Florida State/Sylacauga, Ala.) and Chatrice White (Illinois/Shelby, Neb.).
Additionally, Ali Patberg (Columbus North H.S./Columbus, Ind.) was selected as an alternate.
“I like our team,” said USA U19 head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina). “I thought the committee did a great job of putting a great team together. This is a very versatile team. A lot of players can play different positions. I’m looking forward to working with all of them. We have great point guard play, we’ve got a great perimeter play, we’ve got a lot of length and size, and I look forward to June 30 when we get back together.”
Cox, Dangerfield, Durr, and Samuelson competed on the 2013 USA U16 National Team that won gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship and qualified the U.S. to compete in the 2014 U17 Worlds.
Collier and Samuelson teamed up for the USA and claimed gold at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, a 3x3 basketball event, and Samuelson earned her first 3x3 gold medal as a member of the 2013 USA 3x3 U18 World Championship Team.
In addition to the athletes who won gold medals playing for USA Basketball, Patberg (2014 U18) and Stevens (2014 U18) previously participated in a USA Basketball trials.
Assisting Staley and the U19 squad are collegiate head coaches Kim Barnes Arico of the University of Michigan and Jeff Walz of the University of Louisville.
2015 FIBA U19 World Championship
The FIBA U19 Worlds will feature 16 teams with athletes 19 years old or younger. The 16 teams will be seeded following the July 18-21 preliminary play and advance to the knockout phase with the round of 16 on July 22. The quarterfinals are scheduled for July 24, semifinals are on July 25 and the tournament will end with the medal games on July 26.
Drawn into Group B, the USA will open play against Spain (FIBA Europe bronze medalist) on July 18, face China (FIBA Asia gold medalist) on July 19 and cap preliminary round play on July 21 against Egypt (FIBA Africa silver medalist).
Selected for preliminary round Group A were host Russia (FIBA Europe gold medalist), Argentina (FIBA Americas bronze medalist), the Netherlands (FIBA Europe sixth place) and Japan (FIBA Asia fourth place); Group C consists of Belgium (FIBA Europe fifth place), Canada (FIBA Americas silver medalist), France (FIBA Europe silver medalist) and Mali (FIBA Africa gold medalist); while Group D includes Australia (FIBA Oceania gold medalist), Brazil (FIBA Americas fourth place), Serbia (FIBA Europe fourth place) and South Korea (FIBA Asia bronze medalist).
First held in 1985 and known as the FIBA Junior World Championship through 2001, the U19 World Championship features the world’s top players who are 19 years old or younger. Held every four years through 2005, FIBA now holds U19 World Championships every two years.
USA women’s teams are 66-12 in the U19/Junior World Championships, capturing a fifth-consecutive gold in 2013 with a 9-0 record. In all, the USA own a record six gold medals and one bronze medal and have stood on the podium in each of the past seven FIBA U19 World Championships.
Noteable players to represent the U.S. include: Angela Aycock (1993); Alana Beard (2001); Essence Carson (2005); Tamika Catchings (1997); Crystal Langhorne (2005); Erlana Larkins (2005); Jantel Lavender (2007); Lisa Leslie (1989); Rebecca Lobo (1993); Maya Moore (2007); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009); Vickie Orr (1985); Courtney Paris (2005); Cappie Pondexter (2001); Katie Smith (1993); Dawn Staley (1989); Breanna Stewart (2011 and 2013); and Diana Taurasi (2001).
Chaired by Jim Foster (Chattanooga), the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee also includes NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt), Lindsay Gottlieb (California) and Joi Williams (UCF); and athlete representative Kara Lawson Barling, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.