Eighteen Finalists Named For 2016 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team
After beginning trials with 139 athletes on May 26 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 18 finalists for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team were announced on Monday morning.
Named as finalists were: Janelle Bailey (Providence Day School/Matthews, N.C.); Rellah Boothe (IMG Academy/Ocala, Fla.); Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/Worcester, Mass.); Jenna Brown (The Lovett School/Marietta, Ga.); Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.); Charli Collier (Barbers Hill H.S./Baytown, Texas); Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary's H.S./Stockton, Calif.); Maya Dodson (St. Francis H.S./Alpharetta, Ga.); Destanni Henderson (Fort Myers H.S./Fort Myers, Fla.); Nazahrah Hillmon (Gilmour Academy/Cleveland, Ohio); Taylor Mikesell (Jackson H.S./Massillon, Ohio); Alexis Morris (Legacy Christian Academy/Beaumont, Texas); Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Winder-Barrow H.S./Winder, Ga.); Sedona Prince (Liberty Hill H.S./Liberty Hill, Texas); Abby Prohaska (Lakota West H.S./Liberty Township, Ohio); Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.); Madison Williams (Trinity Valley School/Fort Worth, Texas); and Zoe Young (Valley H.S./Urbandale, Iowa).
Additionally, Kasiyahna Kushkituah (St. Francis H.S./Austell, Ga.), who began on May 26 as a U17 hopeful, will join the 30 players trying out for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team.
“I think the committee did a great job. They steadfastly went through the process and were able to continually make selections of who should continue moving forward,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee, which is responsible for selecting the finalists and team members. “When it got to the final day, they could really spend time on what pieces of the team did they want to have.
“I think this was the most competitive trials we have ever had. As they emerged through the weekend, these 18 played really, really well. They provide a lot of the pieces to the puzzle of putting a roster together. It’s not only at each position, but within each position, versatility, different style of play and stature. There are rebounders, there are shooters, there are defenders and there are really good players at each position.“Today we kick off training camp with scrimmaging the U18 players. Not only was the energy in the gym evident throughout the weekend, with finalists, the energy is going to carry through until the team decision is made Thursday night.”
The finalists will remain in Colorado Springs at the United States Olympic Training Center for training camp through June 2, and the official 12-player roster for the USA U17 World Championship Team is expected to be named on the evening of June 2.
The 12 team members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp June 7-15, before departing for the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship, which will be played June 22-July 2 in Zaragoza, Spain. Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 1999.
The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team will be led by Dori Oldaker, head coach at Mt. Lebanon High School in Pennsylvania, with USA assistant coaches Dianne Lewis of Thomas Edison High School in Virginia and Samantha Quigley, who is the head mentor at the University of St. Francis (NAIA).
Along with DeCosta, Morris and Prince, the coaching staff helped the USA qualify for the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship by virtue of a bronze-medal finish at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Finalists with experience at the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials include: Bailey, Boothe, Brown, Collier, Dodson, Henderson, Mikesell, Prohaska, Christyn Williams and Young.
Four finalists are from the high school class of 2017; 11 are from the class of 2018; and three will graduate high school in 2019.
Chaired in a non-voting position by Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee also includes AAU representatives Bill Larson and Sherri Pegues, National Federation of High Schools representatives Jody Patrick and Jill Rankin Schneider and athlete representative Yolanda Griffith, a 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold medalist who has played on five USA Basketball teams.