Thirty-Three Athletes, Including Eight Members Of 2016 USA U18 Team, Set To Try Out For USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team
Eight gold medalists from the 2016 USA U18 National Team that qualified USA Basketball for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup for Women headline 33 of the nation’s top 19-and-unders who have accepted invitations to attend the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team trials May 18-21 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee. Athletes eligible for this team must be 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) and U.S. citizens.
“These athletes represent the top talent our country has to offer at this age level,” said George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the selection committee. “This is a very versatile group that will give the coaching staff a lot of options. They are all tough competitors, and it is not going to be easy for us to pare it down to the final 12-member team. The committee feels we will be able to select from this group a team that will represent the USA well on and off the court, and these athletes have what it takes to win a seventh-straight gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup.”
University of Pittsburgh head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio, who led the 2016 USA U18 National Team to gold, will lead the USA U19 World Cup Team and will again be assisted by collegiate head coaches Kamie Ethridge from the University of Northern Colorado and Charlotte Smith from Elon University. Additionally, Georgetown University head coach Natasha Adair and Drake University head coach Jennie Baranczyk will serve as court coaches during the trials.
Six-time defending U19 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.
Accepting invitations to attend the USA U19 World Cup Team trials were: Janelle Bailey (Providence Day School/Matthews, N.C.); Jeannie Boehm (Harvard/Winnetka, Ill.); Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Arlington, Texas); Charli Collier (Barbers Hill H.S./Baytown, Texas); Sidney Cooks (Saint Joseph H.S./Kenosha, Wis.); Mikayla Coombs (Wesleyan School/Norcross, Ga.); Gabby Cooper (Syracuse/Lansing, Ill.); Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut/Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Shug Dickson (Tulsa/St. Louis, Mo.); Kathleen Doyle (Iowa/LaGrange Park, Ill.); Dana Evans (West Side H.S./Gary, Ind.); Nadia Fingall (Stanford/Navarre, Fla); Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.); Ruthy Hebard (Oregon/Fairbanks, Alaska); Tamara Henshaw (South Florida/Palm Coast, Fla.); Becca Hittner (Drake/Urbandale, Iowa); Joyner Holmes (Texas/Cedar Hill, Texas); Stephanie Jones (Maryland/Havre de Grace, Md.); Jordan Lewis (Alabama/Windermere, Fla.); Tori McCoy (transfer TBD/Champaign, Ill.); Aarion McDonald (Washington/Fresno, Calif.); Minyon Moore (Southern California/Hercules, Calif.); Kayla Overbeck (Vanderbilt/Newbury Park, Calif.); Sedona Prince (Liberty Hill H.S./Liberty Hill, Texas); Reili Richardson (Arizona State/Brea, Calif.); Kylee Shook (Louisville/Colorado Springs, Colo.); Amber Smith (Missouri/Shreveport, La.); Alecia Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.); Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.); Evina Westbrook (South Salem H.S./Salem, Ore.); Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.); Jocelyn Willoughby (Virginia/East Orange, N.J.) and Aaliyah Wilson (Arkansas/Muskogee, Okla).
Including the eight athletes from the 2016 USA U18 National Team, a total of 24 athletes on the trials roster boast of USA Basketball experience.
Returning from the 2016 USA U18 National Team are Boehm, Carter, Cooks, Evans, Harris, Hebard, Walker and Westbrook.
Dangerfield, who was named to the 2016 USA U18 team before being sidelined by injury, won gold medals on the 2013 USA U16 National Team and 2015 USA U19 World Championship Team. Other five-on-five medalists include Holmes, who captured gold with the 2014 USA U17 World Cup Team; Bailey, Collier, Prince and Williams, who returned home with a bronze medal as a member of the 2016 USA U17 World Championship Team; and Prince, a bronze medalist on the 2015 USA U16 National Team.
Cooks and Walker teamed up for the USA at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup and claimed the silver medal.
More recently, Hebard and Moore competed in the USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 National Tournament April 8-9 at the USOTC, which saw Hebard’s Ducks advance to the championship game and Moore’s Trojans played in the quarterfinals.
Athletes who participated in the 2016 USA U18 National Team Trials include Fingall, McCoy, Richardson, Shook and Wilson; Coombs took part in the 2017 USA U17 World Championship Team trials; Holmes was on the roster for the 2015 USA U19 World Championship Team trials; Bailey and Collier participated in the 2015 USA U16 National Team Trials; Dangerfield, Hebard, Jones, McCoy, Shook, Walker and Westbrook competed for a spot at the 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team trials; while Harris, Holmes, Jones, McCoy, Shook, Sutton, Walker and Willoughby took part in the 2013 USA U16 National Team trials.
Of the 23 athletes who recently completed their freshman season in college, 18 earned conference honors, including Henshaw (American), Hittner (Missouri Valley) and Smith (Southeastern), who all were named 2017 Freshman of the Year in their respective leagues. Further, Hebard (Pacific-12), Hittner and Holmes (Big 12) earned all-conference first team honors.
In addition to the aforementioned athletes, named to conference all-freshman teams were Cooper (Atlantic Coast), Dangerfield (American), Dickson (American), Doyle (Big 10), Harris (SEC), Lewis (SEC), McCoy (Big 10), McDonald (Pac-12), Moore (Pac-12), Overbeck (SEC) and Willoughby (ACC); while Fingall and Richardson earned Pacific-12 Conference All-Freshman honorable mention.
Nine of the 10 high school athletes, six of whom are rising college freshmen and three, Baily, Collier and Williams, who are rising high school seniors, earned All-American honors for their play this past season.
Walker, the 2017 Naismith, Gatorade, WBCA and MaxPreps Girls High School Basketball Player of the Year, and Westbrook, the USA Today All-USA Girls Basketball Player of the Year, headline the prep standouts on the U19 trials roster.
Carter, Evans, Walker and Westbrook were WBCA All-Americans; and Bailey, Carter, Cooks and Coombs earned WBCA All-American honorable mention.
Naismith All-Americans included Bailey (honorable mention), Carter (second team), Collier (third team), Cooks (third team), Coombs (honorable mention), Evans (first team), Walker (first team), Westbrook (first team) and Williams (third team); while the MaxPreps All-American lists featured Carter (second team), Collier (third team), Cooks (honorable mention), Coombs (third team), Evans (third team), Walker (first team), Westbrook (first team) and Williams (third team).
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 Coombs (Georgia), Westbrook (Oregon) and Williams (Arkansas).
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.
The draw to determine the preliminary round was held Feb. 1. The USA was placed in Group A and will open against Mali on July 22, face China on July 23 and cap the preliminary round against host Italy on July 25.
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.
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).