Thirty-Five Athletes Set to Begin Trials for the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team
Trials for the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team will begin on May 16 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and 35 athletes will take part through May 20, when the 12-member roster is expected to be announced.
The trials roster features 10 athletes who have won medals with USA Basketball in international competition, 11 who have taken part in at least one previous USA Basketball trials and 14 who will be new to USA Basketball.
Expected at trials: Bella Alarie (Princeton/Bethesda, Md.), Brittany Brewer (Texas Tech/Abilene, Texas), Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M/Mansfield, Texas), Te'a Cooper (TBD/Powder Springs, Ga.), Kathleen Doyle (Iowa/Lagrange Park, Ill.), Chelsea Dungee (Arkansas/Sapulpa, Okla.), Dana Evans (Louisville/Gary, Ind.), Kiah Gillespie (Florida State/Meriden, Conn.), Vivian Gray (Oklahoma State/Argyle, Texas), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.), Becca Hittner (Drake/Urbandale, Iowa), Joyner Holmes (Texas/Cedar Hill, Texas), Stephanie Jones (Maryland/Havre de Grace, Md.), Aari McDonald (Arizona/Fresno, Calif.), Karissa McLaughlin (Purdue/Fort Wayne, Ind.), Amber Melgoza (Washington/Santa Barbara, Calif.), Taylor Mikesell (Maryland/Massillon, Ohio), Ayana Mitchell (Louisiana State/Conyers, Ga.), Beatrice Mompremier (Miami/Miami, Fla.), Erica Ogwumike (Rice/Cypress, Texas), Michaela Onyenwere (UCLA/Aurora, Colo.), Eleah Parker (Pennsylvania/Charlotte, N.C.), Jaelynn Penn (Indiana/Louisville, Ky.), Destiny Pitts (Minnesota/Detroit, Mich.), Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State/Lynnwood, Wash.), Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern/Silver Spring, Md.), Jayla Scaife (Dayton/Muncie, Ind.), Kristin Scott (Iowa State/Kasson, Minn.), Destiny Slocum (Oregon State/Meridian, Idaho), Amber Smith (Missouri/Shreveport, La.), Sug Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.), Kobi Thornton (Clemson/Shellman, Ga.), Kiana Williams (Stanford/San Antonio, Texas), Peyton Williams (Kansas State/Topeka, Kan.) and Kay Kay Wright (UCF/Orlando, Fla.).
Suzy Merchant (Michigan State) will lead the team as USA head coach, with USA assistant coaches Felisha Legette-Jack (Buffalo) and Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State).
“Our coaching staff is excited to get the trials started this week,” Merchant said. “We are looking forward to working with all of the athletes invited to try out for the 2019 U.S. Women’s Pan American Games Basketball Team. The first few sessions will be an opportunity for everyone to learn as much as possible and then to be able to demonstrate that during our scrimmages.”
On hand to assist the coaching staff during trials will be court coaches Lisa Fortier (Gonzaga), Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State), Nikki McCray-Penson (Old Dominion) and DeLisha Milton-Jones (Pepperdine).
The team members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp July 23-Aug. 5, before competing in the women’s basketball tournament at the 2019 Pan American Games from Aug. 6-10 in Lima, Peru. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who currently are enrolled as a full-time collegiate student with remaining eligibility for the 2019-20 school year.
The seven gold medalists include: Carter, who won gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and was all-tournament at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup as the USA earned silver; Dungee, who won gold at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship; Evans, who won gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship; Harris, who won gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and silver at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup, where she was all-tournament; Holmes, who won gold at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Cup and silver at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup; Mompremier, who won gold at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship; and Slocum, who won gold at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Cup.
Alarie and Sutton earned silver medals at the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup, and Mikesell won bronze at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup.
This past September, Harris took part in the 2018 USA Women’s National Team training camp prior to the FIBA World Cup, including playing in a Red-White exhibition game in South Carolina.
Athletes with experience at a previous USA Basketball trials are: Cooper (2013 U16, 2014 U17, 2015 U19 trials); Doyle (2017 U19 trials); Gillespie (2014 U17 trials); Gray (2016 U18 trials); Hittner (2017 U19 trials); Jones (2013 U16, 2014 U17, 2017 U19 trials); McDonald (2017 U19 trials); Onyenwere (2014 U17 trials); Pitts (2016 U17 trials); Smith (2017 U19 trials); and Kiana Williams (2014 U17, 2015 U16, 2016 U17 trials).
New to USA Basketball are: Brewer, McLaughlin, Melgoza, Mitchell, Ogwumike, Parker, Penn, Pivec, Pulliam, Scaife, Scott, Thornton, Peyton Williams and Kay Kay Wright.
Thirty-three of the 35 athletes were recognized at the end of 2018-19 with conference awards. From the American Athletic Conference, Wright was a first team member. From the Atlantic Coast Conference, Evans was the Sixth Player of the Year; first team selections were Gillespie and Mompremier; and Thornton was named to the second team (coaches). From the Atlantic-10 Conference, Scaife was a fist team member. From the Big 12 Conference, Gray was the Newcomer of the Year and first team; Peyton Williams was first team and all-defensive team; Sutton was first team; Scott was second team; and Holmes was honorable mention. From the Big Ten Conference, Mikesell was Freshman of the Year and was joined on the first team by Doyle, McLaughlin, PItts and Pulliam were first team; and Jones and Penn were second team. From Conference USA, Ogwumike was player of the year and first team. From the Ivy League, Alarie was Player of the Year and first team, and Parker was Defensive Player of the Year and first team. From the Missouri Valley Conference, Hittner was a first team selection. From the Pacific-12 Conference, McDonald was all-defensive team and first team; Onyenwere, Pivec, Slocum and Kiana Williams were first team selections; and Melgoza was honorable mention. And from the Southeastern Conference, Carter and Mitchell were first team; and Cooper, Dungee and Harris were second team.
The USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti, is responsible for selecting the U.S. trials athletes. In addition to Rizzotti, the USA Junior National Team Committee includes 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson as the athlete representative; and Karen Aston (Texas), Tonya Cardoza (Temple) and Wes Moore (North Carolina State) as the NCAA representatives.