2016 USA Women’s U18 National Team Trials Begin On May 28 With 30 Athletes
With the additions of Anastasia Hayes (Riverdale H.S./Hendersonville, Tenn.), Valerie Higgins (Chaminade College Prep/Granada Hills, Calif.) and Cierra Johnson (Blount H.S./Mobile, Ala.), the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials will feature 30 players from May 28-30 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Trials will be utilized to select the 12-member roster for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team, which will be announced on the evening of May 30. 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).
The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team Trials will take place from May 26-30 at the USOTC, and all U17 athletes also are eligible for the 2016 USA Women’s U18 National Team.
Trials also will feature 14 players with prior USA Basketball experience, including 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship gold medalists Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./ Flower Mound, Texas) and Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.). 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.
Sidney Cooks (Saint Joseph H.S./Kenosha, Wis.), Amber Ramirez (Karen Wagner H.S./San Antonio, Texas) and Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.) 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. Additionally, Oliana Squires (Sand Creek H.S./Colorado Springs, Colo.) played on the runner-up team at the 2016 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament.
Six players will arrive at the 2016 U18 trials with two previous USA Basketball trials experiences. Tori McCoy (High School of St. Thomas More/Champaign, Ill.) attended the 2014 U17 trials and was named to the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team but could not participate due to injury; and players with experience at the 2013 U16 and 2014 U17 trials include: Nicole Ekhomu (Joliet Catholic Academy/Bolingbrook, Ill.); Ramirez; Kylee Shook (Mesa Ridge H.S./Colorado Springs, Colo.); Squires; and Dominique Toussaint (Christ the King H.S./Staten Island, N.Y.).
Returning after having taken part in the 2014 U17 trials are: Nadia Fingall (Choctawhatchee H.S./Navaree, Fla.); Ruthy Hebard (West Valley H.S./Fairbanks, Alaska); Megan Walker; and Evina Westbrook (South Salem H.S./Salem, Ore.); while Tyasha Harris (Heritage Christian School/Noblesville, Ind.) was at the 2013 U16 trials.
Hayes, Higgins and Johnson are among 16 players who will be taking part in their first USA Basketball national team event, along with: Jeannie Boehm (New Trier H.S./Winnetka, Ill.); Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Mansfield, Texas); Dana Evans (West Side H.S./Gary, Ind.); Vivian Gray (Argyle H.S./Argyle, Texas); Nia Hollie (Hopkins H.S./Brooklyn Park, Minn.); Kiara Lewis (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.); Chasity Patterson (North Shore H.S./Houston, Texas); Reili Richardson (Brea Olinda H.S./Brea, Calif.); Jenna Staiti (West Forsyth H.S./Cumming, Ga.); Jasmine Walker (Jefferson Davis H.S./Montgomery, Ala.); LaDazhia Williams (Lakewood Ranch H.S./Bradenton, Fla.); Aaliyah Wilson (Muskogee H.S./Muskogee, Okla.); and Micaela Wilson (Rayville H.S./Rayville, La.).
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 (Pittsburgh) as the USA head coach and Kamie Ethridge (Northern Colorado) and Charlotte Smith (Elon) as assistant coaches.
Twenty players will graduate high school in 2016, and 10 players are from the class of 2017.
The state of Texas leads the way in representation with five players at trials; Illinois features four players on the trials roster; Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana and Tennessee each are represented by two players; and Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin all feature one player on the trials roster.
At 5-foot-5, Patterson is listed as the shortest player, while at 6-foot-5, Staiti is the tallest.
Nineteen players have signed a National Letter of Intent, including Ekhomu and Jasmine Walker (Florida State); Lewis and McCoy (Ohio State); Cox (Baylor); Dangerfield (Connecticut); Fingall (Stanford); Harris (South Carolina); Hebard (Oregon); Higgins (Southern California); Hollie (Michigan State); Johnson (Alabama); Ramirez (TCU); Richardson (Arizona State); Shook (Louisville); Squires (Montana State); Staiti (Maryland); Toussaint (Virginia); and Aaliyah Wilson (Arkansas).
Boehm verbally committed to Harvard.
Listed on the Naismith Girls High School All-America first team were Cox and Dangerfield; the second team included McCoy and Megan Walker; the third team listed Harris and Ramirez; and honorable mentions included Boehm, Ekhomu, Staiti and Westbrook.
Cox and Dangerfield were finalists for the Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year; Ramirez and McCoy were semifinalists; the Watch List included Boehm, Cox, Dangerfield, Ekhomu, Fingall, Harris, Higgins, Hollie, Johnson, Lewis, McCoy, Ramirez, Shook, Toussaint, Jasmine Walker and Aaliyah Wilson; and the underclassman Watch List featured Evans, Hayes, Patterson, Megan Walker and Westbrook.
Cox and Dangerfield were USA Today All-USA first team members; the second team featured Lewis; and listed on the third team were Harris and Megan Walker.
Taking home Gatorade State Player of the Year honors were: Hebard (Alaska), Jasmine Walker (Alabama), Staiti (Georgia), Lewis (Illinois), Toussaint (New York), Aaliyah Wilson (Oklahoma), Westbrook (Oregon), Dangerfield (Tennessee), Cox (Texas) and Megan Walker (Virginia).