2021 USA Women’s U16 National Team Finalized
After starting with 34 athletes on June 13, the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team roster was trimmed to 16 finalists on June 16. Following two more days of trials the 12-member team that will represent the United States at the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship was finalized.
The 2021 USA U16 National Team, comprised of athletes who are 16 and under, includes: Kamorea “KK” Arnold (Germantown H.S./Germantown, Wis.); Madison Booker (Germantown H.S./Ridgeland, Miss.); Jaloni Cambridge (Ensworth H.S./Nashville, Tenn.); Breya Cunningham (La Jolla Country Day School/Chula Vista, Calif.); Jadyn Donovan (Sidwell Friends School/Upper Marlboro, Md.); Kendall Dudley (Sidwell Friends School, D.C./Manassas Park, Va.); Margaret Mendelson (Fremont H.S./North Ogden, Utah); Olivia Olson (Benilde-St. Margaret's/New Hope, Minn.); Grace Slaughter (Grain Valley H.S./Grain Valley, Mo.); Delaney Thomas (St. John's College H.S./Charles Town, W.Va.); Judea "JuJu" Watkins (Windward School/Los Angeles, Calif.); and Jada Williams (Blue Springs H.S./Blue Springs, Mo.).
“The past two days were extremely competitive, which made it incredibly difficult to get down to 12 players,” said Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty/San Jose Cagers), who is serving for a second time as the USA U16 National Team head coach after having led the 2013 USA U16 squad to gold. “It’s never an easy decision to have to cut players who gave everything they had, but we feel that the 12 players we will be taking to Chile for the FIBA Americas U16s will give us the best opportunity to continue the USA’s success at the event and bring home another gold medal. This team has a lot of versatility, which is important in these competitions, and immense talent for this age level. I’m really happy with this team and I can’t wait to get back together for training camp in August.”
Team members will return to USA Basketball for training camp on Aug. 4, to prepare for the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, that is expected to be played Aug. 16-22 in Santiago, Chile.
Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 2005.
Four athletes have prior USA Basketball experience after having participated in the 2019 USA U16 National Team trials, including Cunningham, Slaughter, Watkins and Williams.
Nine of the finalists are in the high school class of 2023, while three will graduate in 2024.
Despite being just freshmen and sophomores this past season, three earned state or national accolades.
Arnold collected 2021 MaxPreps High School All-America second team honors and was the MaxPreps and Associated Press Wisconsin Player of the Year and Cambridge was Tennessee Miss Basketball. Additionally, earning all-state nods were Arnold, Cambridge and Slaughter.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Tom McConnell (Indiana University Pennsylvania) and Sophia Witherspoon (Fort Pierce Central H.S., Fla.).
The top four finishing teams at the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship will qualify for the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup.
A biennial event launched in 2009 and open to athletes 16 years old or younger, the FIBA Americas U16 Championship features eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. The USA Basketball women claimed the gold medal in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2019 and the bronze medal in 2015 and are 30-1 in FIBA Americas U16 Championship action.