2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Announced
After three days of trials at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 12-member roster today was announced for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team.
The team members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp July 2-8 before departing for Chile on July 9.
The USA will look to defend its 2014 U18 gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).
Named to the team were: Jeannie Boehm (New Trier H.S./Winnetka, Ill.); Rellah Boothe (IMG Academy/Ocala, Fla.); Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Mansfield, Texas); Sidney Cooks (Saint Joseph H.S./Kenosha, Wis.); Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./ Flower Mound, Texas); Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Tyasha Harris (Heritage Christian School/Noblesville, Ind.); Ruthy Hebard (West Valley H.S./Fairbanks, Alaska); Valerie Higgins (Chaminade College Prep/Granada Hills, Calif.); Amber Ramirez (Karen Wagner H.S./San Antonio, Texas); Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.); and Evina Westbrook (South Salem H.S./Salem, Ore.).
“It is a very versatile, interchangeable team,” said Jim Foster (Tennessee-Chattanooga), chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, which is responsible for selecting the team members. “They can play a big lineup. They could go to a small lineup. We have a nice combination of athletic basketball players and shooters. I think they will be a good defensive basketball team with a lot of opportunities for different looks. I think it will be a fun team to coach.
“It is always a tough decision, and this was a little bit different, because we had two trials going on and two groups eligible for this team, the U17s and the U18s, which gave us a little more flexibility and an opportunity to really diversify the group.”
Boothe began the weekend as a hopeful for the 2016 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team.
“The committee did a great job,” said USA head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh). “When you look at the players that we have been given to compete for a gold medal, I’m excited about the wealth of talent that we have. As far as when we go to compete, having players fulfill roles of being good point guards, shooters, play-makers, post players, some versatility, rebounding and defense. You look at the energy that this group brings, the excitement, and I’m really looking forward to working with them and preparing for Chile.”
Rounding out a coaching staff are Kamie Ethridge (Northern Colorado) and Charlotte Smith (Elon) as assistant coaches.
The team features 10 players with at least one prior USA Basketball experience.
Cox and Dangerfield together won a gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship. Cox also won gold as a member of the 2014 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team, and she and Dangerfield won gold as members of the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team.
Cooks, Ramirez and Walker recently teamed up to win the 2016 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament on May 1, which qualified them to represent USA Basketball at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship, which will be played June 1-5 in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Ramirez took part in the 2013 U16 and 2014 U17 trials; Boothe attended trials for the 2015 U16 trials; Hebard, Walker and Westbrook participated in the 2014 U17 trials; and Harris was at the 2013 U16 trials.
Boehm, Charter and Higgins were selected to a roster at their first USA Basketball event.
Seven players will graduate high school in 2016, and five players are from the class of 2017.
Six players have signed a National Letter of Intent, including Cox (Baylor); Dangerfield (Connecticut); Harris (South Carolina); Hebard (Oregon); Higgins (Southern California); and Ramirez (TCU); while Boehm verbally committed to Harvard.
In addition to Foster, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb, Lindsay Gotlieb and Joi Williams, as well as athlete representative Kara Lawson Barling, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.