Carla Berube, Steve Gomez and Vanessa Nygaard Return to Lead 2018 USA Women’s U17 World Cup Team
Returning to lead the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Cup Team will be USA and Tufts University head coach Carla Berube, along with USA assistant coaches Steve Gomez of Lubbock Christian University and Vanessa Nygaard of Windward School in California.
The trio, which helped the USA qualify for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup with a gold-medal finish at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship this past summer, will lead the USA at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup from July 21-29 at Minsk's Sport Palace and Falcon Club in Minsk, Belarus.
“We are excited to have Carla, Steve and Vanessa return to lead the USA U17 World Cup Team,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball women’s national team director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee, which is responsible for selecting players and coaches for USA women’s U16 and U17 teams. “This trio of coaches had a very successful summer in 2017 and led the USA to a gold-medal finish and qualified the USA women for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup. We are confident the staff again will develop the selected USA players on and off the court, and the team will be well prepared to challenge for the 2018 U17 World Cup title.”
Berube will enter her second head coaching assignment with USA Basketball. In addition to leading the 2017 USA Women’s U16 National Team, Berube served as a court coach at the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team Trials.
As a USA Basketball athlete, she was a member of the bronze medalist 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival East Team.
Berube, who was presented the Pat Summitt Trophy as the 2015 United States Marine Corps/WBCA NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year, has spent 16 years (2002-03 to present) as head coach at Tufts, where she owns a 356-93 record and a .793 winning percentage.
In 2017-18, Berube led the Jumbos to a 26-5 record, the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament championship game and the NCAA Division III Elite Eight.
“It's an amazing honor to be named the head coach of the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Cup Team,” Berube said. “I had an outstanding experience coaching the U16 team last year, and I look forward to representing USA Basketball again this summer. Coaching the best and the brightest girls basketball players in the country is an incredible privilege. I can't wait to get started.”
Gomez, in addition to being a 2017 USA U16 assistant coach, was a court coach at the 2016 USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team Trials.
He recently completed his 15th season (2003-04 to present) as head coach at Lubbock Christian, where he has posted an overall record of 365-117 (.757 winning percentage).
In 2017-18, Gomez guided his squad to a 31-2 record, which tied for the second-highest win total in program history. LCU captured a South Central Region Tournament title and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament. Gomez was named the 2018 Heartland Conference Coach of the Year and the 2018 WBCA South Central Region Coach of the Year.
Since Gomez and LCU have competed in the NCAA Division II five seasons ago in 2013-14, he has compiled a 131-21 (.862) DII record.
“It is both a tremendous privilege and a very humbling responsibility to have this opportunity again,” Gomez said. “To get to work with the most highly respected organization in women’s basketball in the world, as well as the chance to coach the premier basketball players in the country is not something that I take lightly. I am excited about returning to Colorado Springs and beginning the team trials on May 24 and then to the adventures that our team will experience as we compete for the World Cup.”
Nygaard previously helped the USA to a gold medal as an assistant coach for the 2017 USA U16 national team, and she served as a court coach at the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team Trials.
As a USA Basketball athlete, Nygaard suited up for the West Team at the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival, which finished with the silver medal.
Nygaard took the reins as head girls basketball coach at Windward School in Los Angeles, California, in 2012-13, after serving as the associate head coach there for three seasons (2008-09 to 2011-12).
At the conclusion of her sixth season as Windward’s girls basketball head coach, Nygaard owns a 157-28 record (.849 winning percentage) as the program’s head coach (all records are as of March 25).
Her 2017-18 squad finished 27-3 and captured a California Interscholastic Federation Southern Regional championship and a CIF State Open Division Championship.
In 2016-17, Nygaard guided Windward to a 30-4 record and a CIF Division I state championship.
“I am thrilled to return as an assistant to help the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team,” Nygaard said. “I am both humbled and honored to be chosen by USA Basketball to represent our country in international competition. I am thankful to all the players, coaches, and mentors who have helped prepare me for this experience.”
Trials to select the finalists for the 12-member 2018 USA Women’s U17 World Cup Team will be held May 24-28 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The finalists will remain in Colorado Springs for training camp and the naming of the official roster. The team will open its final training camp on July 4.
Athletes received invitations to attend trials in late March, and it again was possible for athletes who did not receive an invitation to participate in trials by submitting an application by April 3. Due to space limitations, a maximum of 115 applicant athletes will be permitted to attend trials, as determined by the USA Basketball Developmental National Team Committee. Athletes will be notified of the committee’s decision to attend trials by April 13, and the complete trials roster will be announced in late April. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 17 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 2001).
FIBA Women’s U17 World Cup
The FIBA U17 World Cup for Women, which is held every two years, originated in 2010. The USA captured the 2010 FIBA U17 World Cup gold medal. Also claiming gold in 2012 and 2014, the USA's winning streak at the FIBA U17s was halted in 2016 by eventual gold medalist Australia in the semifinal game. The USA, however, rebounded to claim bronze with a 6-1 record. The USA is now 29-1 all-time in the four editions of the event.
On March 6, 2018, FIBA conducted the draw for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup for Women, and the USA was placed into Group B where it will face Italy on July 21, Mali on July 22 and China on July 24 in preliminary round play. Rounding out the preliminary round groups are: Group A includes Belarus, Colombia, France and Japan; playing in Group C will be Argentina, Hungary, New Zealand and Spain; while Group D features Angola, Australia, Canada and Latvia.
Some of the players who have competed for the USA Women’s U17 National Team include: Lindsay Allen (2012), Diamond DeShields (2012), Rebecca Greenwell (2012), Joyner Holmes (2014), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (2010), Ariel Massengale (2010), Olivia Nelson-Ododa (2016), Mercedes Russell (2012), Katie Lou Samuelson (2016), Breanna Stewart (2010), Christyn Williams (2016) and Elizabeth Williams (2010).