USA Women Will Face China, Italy, Mali In 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup Preliminary Round
The draw for the 2017 FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup took place today in Udine, Italy, and the USA, six-time defending U19 gold medalist, was placed in Group A for preliminary round games and will open against Mali on July 22, face China on July 23 and cap the preliminary round against host Italy on July 25.
The United States, which earned its U19 berth by virtue of claiming gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, will look to make it seven gold medals in a row at the July 22-30 event in Cividale del Friuli and Udine. China (FIBA Asia) and Mali (FIBA Africa) also earned gold medals at their respective U18 zone qualifying tournaments in advancing to the 2017 U19 World Cup.
Trials to select the 12-member team will be held May 18-21 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and athletes eligible for this team must be 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) and U.S. citizens.
Italy earned an automatic berth into the tournament as the host country. Fourteen of the remaining 15 nations were determined by the five FIBA zone qualifiers in 2016. In addition to Italy, countries competing in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup include Mali and Egypt (silver medalist) from FIBA Africa; USA, Canada (silver medalist) and Puerto Rico (fourth place) from FIBA Americas; China, Japan (silver medalist) and South Korea (bronze medalist) from FIBA Asia; France (gold medalist), Spain (silver medalist), Russia (bronze medalist), Latvia (fourth place) and Hungary (fifth place) from FIBA Europe; while Australia (gold medalist) secured FIBA Oceania’s lone berth.
Drawn into Group B were Egypt, Puerto Rico, Russia and Spain; Group C includes Canada, France, Latvia and South Korea; while Group D features Australia, Hungary, Japan and a nation from the Americas to be determined by FIBA at a later date. Brazil claimed bronze at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship to qualify for this summer’s U19 tournament. However, the Brazil Basketball Federation has since been suspended by FIBA.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded according to group play, and all participating teams will advance to the July 26 round of 16. Winners will advance to the July 28 medal quarterfinals, while the remaining teams will continue playing out for classification. The medal semifinals will be held July 29, and the gold and bronze medal games are slated for July 30.
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, FIBA changed the names of its age-based world championships in 2005 to reflect the age of eligibility, and recently modified the names of all of its world championships to world cups. The tournament was held every four years starting in 1985. FIBA in 2005 changed its calendar and now conducts the U19 World Cup every other year. USA women's teams are 73-12 in U19/Junior World Cups, capturing a sixth-consecutive gold in 2015 with a 7-0 record.
Notable players to represent the USA at the FIBA U19 World Cup include: Alana Beard (2001), Essence Carson (2005), Tamika Catchings (1997), Bria Hartley (2011), Crystal Langhorne (2005), Jantel Lavender (2007), Lisa Leslie (1989), Rebecca Lobo (1993), Maya Moore (2007), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009), Vickie Orr (1985), Cappie Pondexter (2001), Katie Smith (1993), Dawn Staley (1989), Azurá Stevens (2015), Breanna Stewart (2011 and MVP of the 2013 U19 World Championship), Diana Taurasi (2001), Morgan Tuck (2011 and 2013) and A’ja Wilson (2013 and MVP of the 2015 U19 World Championship).