2017 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team Headlined By Seven Gold Medalists
Following four days of trials featuring 32 athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team, highlighted by seven returning USA Basketball gold medalists, was announced Sunday morning. The team was selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee. Six-time defending FIBA U19 World Cup for Women gold medalists, the United States will look to make it seven gold medals in a row at the July 22-30 event in Cividale del Friuli and Udine, Italy.
The team will return to Colorado Springs July 7 to begin training camp before departing for Italy on July 15. The U.S. will then compete July 17-19 in a four-team exhibition tournament against host Italy, Latvia and Spain before tipping off 2017 U19 World Cup play July 22 against Mali.
Named to the 2017 USA U19 World Cup Team were: Bella Alarie (Princeton/Bethesda, Md.); Jeannie Boehm (Harvard/Winnetka, Ill.); Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Arlington, Texas); Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut/Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.); Ruthy Hebard (Oregon/Fairbanks, Alaska); Joyner Holmes (Texas/Cedar Hill, Texas); Kayla Overbeck (Vanderbilt/Newbury Park, Calif.); Reili Richardson (Arizona State/Brea, Calif.); Alecia Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.); Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.); and Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.).
“This group of kids made it a really difficult decision for the committee,” said George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the selection committee. “We felt that the overall competitiveness, coachability and maturity gave us a lot of great options to choose from. We feel confident that we selected a great 12-member team that will proudly represent the United States in the FIBA U19 World Cup.”
“I’m really excited about the personnel that we have on this team as the journey begins to prepare to try and win a gold medal,” said USA U19 and University of Pittsburgh head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio. “Watching these players through the trials, there were so many great players here, and this is a special team. The committee put together a team we feel very confident in, in their skill-set, in the energy that they will bring in representing the United States and the pride they will have in doing so. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with these players.”
After opening against Mali on July 22, the USA will face China on July 23 and cap the preliminary round against host Italy on July 25. Also competing in the 16-nation tournament are Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Korea and Spain.
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.
Including five athletes from the 2016 USA U18 National Team, which qualified the USA for the 2017 U19 World Cup by virtue of its 5-0, gold-medal finish, and Dangerfield, who helped the USA capture gold at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Cup, a total of 10 athletes on the roster boast of USA Basketball experience.
Returning from the 2016 USA U18 National Team are Boehm, Carter, Harris, Hebard and Walker.
Dangerfield, who was named to the 2016 USA U18 team before being sidelined by injury, also captured a gold medal on the 2013 USA U16 National Team and becomes the fifth U.S. athlete to be named to a pair of USA U19 squads. The feat was also accomplished by Alexis Jones (2011, 2013), Breanna Stewart (2011, 2013), Morgan Tuck (2011, 2013) and A’ja Wilson (2013, 2015).
Other five-on-five medalists include Holmes, who captured gold with the 2014 USA U17 World Cup Team; Williams, who returned home with bronze medals as a member of the 2016 USA U17 World Championship Team and 2015 USA U16 National Team.
Further, Walker claimed a silver medal at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup, and Hebard competed in the USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 National Tournament April 8-9 at the USOTC, which saw her Ducks advance to the championship game.
Richardson and Sutton had previous USA trials experience, Richardson at the 2016 USA U18 National Team trials and Sutton at the 2014 USA U17 World Cup Team trials.
Of the nine athletes who recently completed their freshman season in college, six earned conference honors, including Alarie, who was named 2017 Ivy League Freshman of the Year. Further, Alarie, Hebard (Pacific-12) and Holmes (Big 12) earned all-conference first team honors.
In addition to the aforementioned athletes, named to conference all-freshman teams were Dangerfield (American), Harris (SEC) and Overbeck (SEC); while Richardson earned Pacific-12 Conference All-Freshman honorable mention.
Walker, the 2017 Naismith, Gatorade, WBCA and MaxPreps Girls High School Basketball Player of the Year, headlines the three prep standouts on the U19 roster.
Carter and Walker were WBCA All-Americans; Naismith All-Americans included Carter (second team), Walker (first team) and Williams (third team); while the MaxPreps All-American first team included Walker, Carter listed on the second team and Williams was a third team selection.
In addition to earning the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, Walker (Virginia) collected her Gatorade State Player of the Year trophy, as did Williams (Arkansas).
McConnell-Serio is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Kamie Ethridge from the University of Northern Colorado and Charlotte Smith from Elon University.
In addition to Rizzotti, who directed the 2011 USA U19 World Championship and 2010 USA U18 National teams to gold medal finishes and served as support staff for the 2014 USA World Championship and 2016 U.S. Olympic teams, members of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee include 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson Barling as the athlete representative, and joining Rizzotti as representatives of the NCAA are University of Texas head coach Karen Aston, Temple University head coach Tonya Cardoza and North Carolina State head coach Wes Moore.
FIBA U19 World Cup for Women
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 updated the names of all of its world championships to world cups. The tournament was held every four years starting in 1985. FIBA in 2005 modified 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 Championship 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).