Nineteen Gold Medalists Among 30 Athletes Set to Take Part in 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team Trials
A total of 30 of the nation’s top young athletes, including 19 previous USA Basketball gold medalists, have accepted an invitation to participate in the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team trials. Invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by George Washington University head coach Jennifer Rizzotti.
Trials to select the 12-member team will be held May 16-19 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Training camp will follow July 5-19, with the U19 World Cup competition taking place July 20-28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens, born on or after Jan. 1, 2000.
The 30 athletes who are expected to take part in the 2019 USA U19 World Cup Team trials include: Shakira Austin (Maryland/Fredericksburg, Va.); Francesca Belibi (Regis H.S./Centennial, Colo.); Aijha Blackwell (Cadinal Ritter H.S./Berkeley, Mo.); Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy, Mass./St. Thomas, USVI); Cameron Brink (Southridge H.S./Beaverton, Ore.); Jenna Brown (Stanford/Atlanta, Ga.); Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./St. Louis Park, Minn.); Chrislyn Carr (Texas Tech/Davenport, Iowa); Caitlin Clark (Dowling Catholic H.S./West Des Moines, Iowa); Nia Clouden (Michigan State/Owings Mills, Md.); Zia Cooke (Rogers H.S./Toledo, Ohio); Elissa Cunane (North Carolina State/Northern Guilford, N.C.); Maori Davenport (Charles Henderson H.S./Troy, Ala.); Aquira DeCosta (Baylor/Stockton, Calif.); Elizabeth Dixon (Louisville/Germantown, Tenn.); Queen Egbo (Baylor/Houston, Texas); Shaylee Gonzales (BYU/Gilbert, Ariz.); Aubrey Griffin (Ossining H.S./ Ossining, N.Y.); Naz Hillmon-Baker (Michigan/Cleveland, Ohio); Rhyne Howard (Kentucky/Cleveland, Tenn.); Ashley Joens (Iowa State/Iowa City, Iowa); Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S./Santa Cruz, Calif.); Diamond Miller (Franklin H.S./Somerset, N.J.); Jordan Nixon (Notre Dame/New York, N.Y.); Charisma Osborne (Windward School/Inglewood, Calif.); Abby Prohaska (Notre Dame/Liberty Township, Ohio); Taylor Robertson (Oklahoma/McPherson, Kan.); Nalyssa Smith (Baylor/Converse, Texas); Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran/Valley Stream, N.Y.) and Hailey Van Lith (Cashmere H.S./Wenatchee, Wash.).
Serving as head coach for the 2019 USA U19 World Cup Team is Jeff Walz (Louisville), and collegiate head coaches Natasha Adair (Delaware) and Cori Close (UCLA) are the USA’s assistant coaches.
“I’m looking forward to working with all these talented athletes at the USA U19 World Cup Team trials,” said Walz. “It’s an amazing group of athletes and it’s going to be hard for the committee to pick just 12 for this team. We have a group of kids who are versatile, we have so much talent at every position. It will be an exciting weekend of basketball, and I can’t wait to get started.”
The field of athletes include 16 who recently completed their freshman season at an NCAA Division I school, 10 who graduate high school this spring and four from the high school class of 2020.
Howard, who was named MVP of the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, helped lead the USA to a 5-0 slate at the event and the USA’s berth into the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup. Howard was joined on the five-member all-tournament team by Davenport. Also aiding in the USA U18 squad’s gold medal finish were: Blackwell, Brown, Hillmon-Baker, Joens and Smith. Egbo, Nixon and Prohaska were named to the team but withdrew due to school commitments.
Nine members of the gold medalist 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team are listed on this year’s U19 trials roster, including FIBA U17 World Cup All-Star Five members Boston and Jones. Also aiding the team to gold were Belibi, Brink, Bueckers, Cooke, Osborne, Taylor and Van Lith.
Claiming gold at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship were: Belibi, Boston, Bueckers, Clark, Cooke, Miller and Taylor.
Bronze medalists from the 2016 U17 World Cup Team include Brown, DeCosta and Prohaska; while DeCosta also returned home with a bronze medal from the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
In 3x3 basketball, Boston, Bueckers and Van Lith helped the USA strike gold at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, and DeCosta claimed MVP honors at the 2017 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup en route to winning gold.
An additional four athletes have participated in at least one USA Basketball trials, including Austin, Clouden, Dixon and Griffin.
2019 WBCA Freshman of the Year Howard headlines the collegiate athletes, four of whom were named their respective conference’s Freshman of the Year, while nine listed on their conference all-freshman team. Carr was named Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, Gonzales was the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year, Hillmon-Baker collected Big Ten Conference Sixth Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards and Howard earned Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honors. Gonzales, Hillmon-Baker and Howard also listed among their conference all-freshman teams, along with Austin (Big Ten), Clouden (Big Ten), Cunane (ACC), Dixon (ACC), Joens (Big 12) and Robertson (Big 12).
Gatorade State Player of the Year honors went to Belibi (Colorado), Boston (Massachusetts), Brink (Oregon), Bueckers (Minnesota), Clark (Iowa), Jones (California), Miller (New Jersey), Taylor (New York) and Van Lith (Washington).
All 30 athletes also are eligible for the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team. Trials for that squad also take place May 16-20 at the USOTC in Colorado Springs.
In addition to Rizzotti, the USA Junior National Team includes 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson as the athletic representative; and collegiate head coaches Karen Aston (Texas), Tonya Cardoza (Temple) and Wes Moore (North Carolina State) as the NCAA representatives.
FIBA U19 World Cup for Women
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years starting in 1985. FIBA changed its calendar in 2005 and now conducts the U19 World Cup every other year.
USA women’s teams are 79-13 in U19/Junior World Cups, capturing a sixth-consecutive gold in 2015 with a 7-0 record. In 2017, USA Basketball fell four points short against Russia in the gold medal game in an attempt to capture a seventh-straight gold medal.
No. 1 in FIBA’s world youth women’s rankings, the USA in 2019 will play in preliminary round Group C and opens the competition July 20 against No. 7 Australia, followed by a July 21 contest against No. 15 South Korea. After a rest day, the USA will cap preliminary games July 23 against No. 14 Hungary.
Group A includes Canada, Latvia, Mozambique and Thailand; Group B features Argentina, Belgium, China and Mali; and drawn into Group D were Colombia, Germany, Japan and Spain.
Following the preliminary round, all teams will advance to the July 24 round of 16. The winners of the round of 16 will advance to the July 26 medal quarterfinals, and the losers will play out for ninth-16th places. The semifinals will be played on July 27, and the gold and bronze medal games on July 28.
Notable players to represent the U.S. include: Angela Aycock (1993), Alana Beard (2001), Essence Carson (2005), Tamika Catchings (1997), Crystal Dangerfield (2015, 2017), Ruthy Hebard (2017), Crystal Langhorne (2005), Erlana Larkins (2005), Jantel Lavender (2007), Lisa Leslie (1989), Rebecca Lobo (1993), Maya Moore (2007), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009), Vickie Orr (1985), Courtney Paris (2005), Cappie Pondexter (2001), Katie Smith (1993), Dawn Staley (1989), Azura Stevens (2015), Breanna Stewart (2011 and MVP of the 2013 U19 World Cup), Diana Taurasi (2001), Morgan Tuck (2011 and 2013) and A’ja Wilson (2013 and MVP of the 2015 U19 World Cup).