Seven Gold Medalists Headline 2021 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team Trials Invitees
A total of seven USA Basketball gold medalists, including a pair of two-time gold medalists, highlight the 27 young athletes who have accepted invitations to the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team trials. Invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Selection Committee.
Trials to select finalists for the 12-member team will be held May 14-16 at Metro State University in Denver.
The 27 athletes who accepted an invitation to the women’s U19 team trials are Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./ Centennial, Colo.); Sonia Citron (The Ursuline School/Scarsdale, N.Y.); Caitlin Clark (Iowa/West Des Moines, Iowa); Amari DeBerry (Williamsville South H.S./Buffalo, N.Y.); Brooke Demetre (Mater Dei H.S./Foothill Ranch, Calif.); Alexis Donarski (Iowa State/La Crosse, Wis.); Gabrielle Elliott (Clemson/Detroit, Mich.); Sania Feagin (Forest Park H.S./Ellenwood, Ga.); Azzi Fudd (St. John’s College H.S. (D.C.)/ Arlington, Va.); Hannah Gusters (LSU/DeSoto, Texas); Diamond Johnson (NC State/Philadelphia, Pa.); Raven Johnson (Westlake H.S./ Atlanta, Ga.); JerKaila Jordan (Mississippi State/New Orleans, La.); Greta Kampschroeder (Naperville North H.S./Naperville, Ill.); Madison Layden (Purdue/Kokomo, Ind.); Jordyn Merritt (Florida/Plano, Texas); Olivia Miles (Notre Dame/Phillipsburg, PA); Ugonne Onyiah (California/Eastvale, Calif.); Te-hina Paopao (Oregon/Oceanside, Calif.); Ayanna Patterson (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.); Angel Reese (Maryland/Baltimore, Md.); Jewel Spear (Wake Forest/The Colony, Texas); Payton Verhulst (Bishop Meige H.S./DeSoto, Kan); Talia von Oelhoffen (Oregon State/Pasco, Wash.); Sakima Walker (Rutgers/Columbus, Ohio); Lauren Ware (Arizona/Bismarck, N.D.); and Jersey Wolfenbarger (Northside H.S./Fort Smith, Ark.).
Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens, born on or after Jan. 1, 2002.
“This is definitely a unique year for our committee after not getting to evaluate this age group of players in last summer's U18 trials and competition,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the selection committee and Connecticut Sun president. “We do, however, feel confident that we've invited a very talented, diverse and exciting group of players. We've identified both some of the best college freshmen that make the age cut-off as well as some of the best high school players ready to make their mark.
“As we saw in college basketball this season, the young players in our country are fierce and competitive. We are always looking for great talent, but we also need to find the players who understand what it means to put on a USA jersey and play for something bigger than themselves. That's the first lesson in learning what it takes to be an Olympian. The FIBA U19 World Cup is one of the hardest competitions to win so our goal is to give Cori Close and her staff a deep, balanced and well-equipped team to represent the USA this summer.”
UCLA head coach Cori Close is serving as the 2021 USA U19 World Cup Team head coach, and college head coaches Aaron Johnston from South Dakota State University and Joni Taylor from the University of Georgia are assistant coaches for this year’s U19 squad.
Included on the U19 trials roster are 16 athletes who were college freshmen in 2020-21, nine current high school seniors who will matriculate to college in the fall and another two who are high school juniors from the Class of 2022.
Clark, who was a member of the 2019 USA U19 gold medal winning squad, and Fudd, who claimed gold at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, are the two double-gold medalists on the trials roster. They teamed up to help the 2017 USA U16 National Team claim gold at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
In 2019, Verhulst claimed MVP honors after leading the USA U16 National Team to gold and was joined on the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship All-Star Five by Betts and Citron. Also aiding the U.S. to gold at that event were DeBerry and Miles.
Additionally, Clark and Reese were finalists for the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team; Feagin and Raven Johnson were finalists for the 2019 USA U16 squad; and Gusters was a finalist for the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team.
Including the above mentioned team members and finalists, athletes who participated in at least one USA Basketball trials include Demetre, Kampschroeder, Merritt, Paopao, Patterson, Spear and Wolfenbarger.
In 3x3 action, Betts, DeBerry, Fudd, Kampschroeder, Spear and Verhulst took part in either the 2018 or 2019 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championship.
Featuring U19 teams from 16 nations, the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup is scheduled to be held Aug. 7-15 in Debrecen, Hungary. In addition to the USA and host Hungary, teams that will take part in this summer’s U19 World Cup include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Mali, Russia, South Korea and Spain.
FIBA held the draw to determine preliminary round groups for the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup on April 28, and the USA was drawn into Group A, alongside Australia, Egypt and Italy for the Aug. 7-10 preliminary round. The USA will open play against Italy on Aug. 7, followed by Australia on Aug. 8 and cap preliminary play against Egypt on Aug. 10. Times will be announced by FIBA at a later date.
Reigning FIBA U19 World Cup gold medalist, USA women’s teams have won eight gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal while compiling an 86-13 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event was launched in 1985. Even more impressive, the USA has posted a 62-3 record and won seven of the past eight U19 golds since 2005.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, no media or guests will be allowed to view trials sessions. However, USA Basketball will provide media with images and b-roll for non-commercial, editorial use.
In addition to Rizzotti, the USA Junior National Team Selection Committee includes Temple University head coach Tonya Cardoza; 2008 Olympic gold medalist and Duke University head coach Kara Lawson; and North Carolina State University head coach Wes Moore.