Thirty-Five Athletes Set to Begin 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team Trials on May 26
The 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials are set to kick off on May 26 with 35 athletes and will continue through May 28 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The trials will feature eight international medalists alongside 14 athletes who possess prior USA Basketball training camp experience and 13 players new to USA Basketball.
DeYona Gaston (Pearland H.S./Pearland, Texas), who previously was announced as attending trials, is no longer able to participate.
The trials athletes will compete in two sessions each day on May 26, 27 and 28 before the 12-member 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team is expected to be announced on the evening of May 28. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 2000).
Expected at trials are: Shakira Austin (Riverdale Baptist H.S./Fredericksburg, Va.); Breanna Beal (Rock Island H.S./Rock Island, Ill.); Grace Berg (Indianola H.S./Carlisle, Iowa); Aijha Blackwell (Whitfield School/Berkeley, Mo.); Jenna Brown (The Lovett School/Smyrna, Ga.); Kennedy Brown (Derby Senior H.S./Derby, Kan.); Desiree Caldwell (Byron P. Steele II H.S./Cibolo, Texas); Taylor Chavez (Valley Vista H.S./Surprise, Ariz.); Amira Collins (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Waldorf, Md.); Maori Davenport (Henderson H.S./Troy, Ala.); Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s H.S./Stockton, Calif.); Elizabeth Dixon (Ridgeway H.S./Germantown, Tenn.); Queen Egbo (Travis H.S./Houston, Texas); Emily Engstler (St. Francis Prep/New York, N.Y.); McKenzie Forbes (Folsom H.S./Folsom, Calif.); Hayley Frank (Strafford H.S./Marshfield, Mo.); Katlyn Gilbert (Heritage Christian School/Indianapolis, Ind.); Zarielle Green (Duncanville H.S./Dallas, Texas); Heavenly Greer (Horizon H.S./Phoenix, Ariz.); Nazarah Hillmon-Baker (Gilmour Academy/Cleveland, Ohio); Rhyne Howard (Bradley Central H.S./Cleveland, Tenn.); Ashley Joens (Iowa City H.S./Iowa City, Iowa); Jazmine Massengill (Heights Christian Academy/Harrison, Tenn.); Olivia Nelson-Ododa (Winder-Barrow H.S./Winder, Ga.); Jordan Nixon (Mary Louis Academy/New York, N.Y.); Karisma Ortiz (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose, Calif.); Jaden Owens (Plano West H.S./Plano, Texas); Anaya Peoples (Schlarman H.S./Danville, Ill.); Sedona Prince (Liberty Hill H.S./Liberty Hill, Texas); Abby Prohaska (Lakota West H.S./Liberty Township, Ohio); Sammie Puisis (William Mason H.S./Mason, Ohio); Honesty Scott-Grayson (Riverdale Baptist H.S./Severn, Md.); NaLyssa Smith (East Central H.S./Converse, Texas); Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.); and Zoe Young (Valley H.S./Urbandale, Iowa).
The 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team will be led by Jeff Walz of the University of Louisville, with Natasha Adair of the University of Delaware and Cori Close of UCLA serving as the USA’s assistant coaches. The coaching staff will be assisted during trials by court coaches Jose Fernandez of the University of South Florida and Joni Taylor of the University of Georgia.
All 25 athletes who are members of the high school class of 2018 have signed a National Letter of Intent. Nine athletes are set to graduate high school in 2019, and one player, Greer, belongs to the class of 2020.
The team members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp on July 20, before the team departs for the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be held Aug. 1-7, 2018 at a location still to be announced.
Walz, Adair and Close will guide the USA at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, where the top four finishing teams at the championship will earn a qualifying berth into next summer’s 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.