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2016 USA Women's U18 Coaches

Olympic Gold Medalist And University of Pittsburgh Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio Named Head Coach Of The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team

  • Date:
    Mar 8, 2016

- Past USA Basketball Players Kamie Ethridge Of Northern Colorado And Charlotte Smith Of Elon University Selected As Assistant Coaches -

The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team will be led by a trio of former USA Basketball players and current successful collegiate head coaches in Suzie McConnell-Serio (University of Pittsburgh) as the USA head coach and Kamie Ethridge (University of Northern Colorado) and Charlotte Smith (Elon University) as assistant coaches. The USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee selected the coaching staff.

In addition to their current success as head mentors in the NCAA, all three coaches enjoyed tremendous success as athletes themselves, including winning gold medals while playing for USA Basketball.

“With the age group and level of this competition, we felt it was imperative to get a strong teaching staff,” said Jim Foster (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga), who is chair of the committee. “Suzie McConnell-Serio is probably one of the most qualified coaches with a unique resume of high school, AAU, professional, mid-major and major conference coaching. She has long been known as someone who understood the game of basketball on many levels, both as a player and as a coach. Kami Ethridge, an Olympian and national championship point guard, was very impressive last year as a court coach. Charlotte Smith, a former USA Basketball player and professional, has done a wonderful job with her basketball program. This only reinforces the level of teaching and experience we're looking for with this young team.”

The 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will take place July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile, where the top four finishing teams will earn a berth into the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.

McConnell-Serio, who won gold medals at the 1988 Olympics, the 1986 FIBA World Championship, the 1991 World University Games and the 1985 R. William Jones Cup and a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics, currently is in her third season as head coach at the University of Pittsburgh.     

In nine seasons as a collegiate head coach overall, she owns a 167-118 record (as of March 8, 2016).

McConnell-Serio will undertake her second USA Basketball coaching assignment in 2016 after having helped the USA to a 6-0 record and gold medal as an assistant coach at the 2011 World University Games.

“Being named a head coach by USA Basketball is an incredible honor,” McConnell-Serio said. “I am so excited and thankful for this opportunity knowing how special it is to represent our country.

“I am really looking forward to working with Kamie and Charlotte. They have had amazing careers as players and are now successful coaches and bring a great deal of experience to our staff.”

Ethridge, who previously served as a court coach for the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Trials, won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 1988 Olympics, the 1987 Pan American Games, the 1986 FIBA World Championship and the 1986 Goodwill Games. She also won a silver medal at the 1985 World University Games, and she played for the gold medal winning South teams in the 1982 and 1983 U.S. Olympic Festivals.

In her second year at Northern Colorado, Ethridge has compiled a 35-28 overall record (all records are as of March 6).

Prior to Northern Colorado, she spent 18 seasons as an associate head coach at Kansas State University (1996-97 through 2013-14), helping the Wildcats to a record of 350-226 over that span.

“It is a tremendous honor to be selected as an assistant coach to USA Basketball’s U18 Team,” Ethridge said. “As a player, my proudest moments and achievements came while wearing the USA uniform and representing my country in USA Basketball competitions. I am extremely proud and appreciative to be a part of the USA Basketball U18 coaching staff and look forward to representing America in Chile.”

Smith won a gold medal at the 1996 R. William Jones Cup and silver medals at the 1995 World University Games and 1992 FIBA Americas U18 Championship (then known as the Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament). She also played for the 1997 USA Basketball Women's International Invitational Team, the 1994 USA Select Team and at the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival.

Now in her fifth season as the head coach at Elon University, she has compiled an 87-68 record (all records are as of March 8, 2016), and thus far in 2015-16, Elon is 18-11.

“It’s an honor to be named assistant coach for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team,” Smith said. “It’s a tremendous honor to be able to give back and coach for USA Basketball after having played for several years on the collegiate level. It’s a privilege to represent your country, and I definitely look forward to working with Coach McConnell-Serio and Coach Ethridge.”

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, who is a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.

2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship

The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight U18 national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, and the top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.

Trials to select the 12-member USA roster will take place May 27-31 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).

The United States and Canada earned automatic berths into the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship from North America. Also earning a place in the tournament were the top three finishing teams from the 2015 South American U17 Championship, including Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Additionally, Guatemala, Mexico and Puerto Rico earned the three berths available from the 2015 Centrobasket U17 Championship.

Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event was held every four years from 1998-2004. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2004 championship and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.

USA women's teams boast of a remarkable 48-2 overall record in U18 / Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996.

U18 National Team players of note include: Tamika Catchings (1996); Marissa Coleman (2004); Napheesa Collier (2014); Skylar Diggins (2008); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Chiney Ogwumike (2010); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Breanna Stewart (2012); Diana Taurasi (2000); Morgan Tuck (2012); Brianna Turner (2014); Candice Wiggins (2004); and A’ja Wilson (2014).

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