2021 USA Women's U19 World Cup Team Announced, Training Camp Starts July 21 in Washington D.C.
The 2021 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team has been finalized ahead of training camp, which will open Wednesday, July 21, at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. Nine team members were announced on May 16, and the final three athletes joining the roster will be Amari DeBerry (Williamsville South H.S./Buffalo, N.Y.), Lauren Ware (Arizona/Bismark, N.D.) and Jersey Wolfenbarger (Northside H.S./Fort Smith, Ark.).
Two other finalists, Angel Reese (Maryland/Baltimore, Md.) and Maddy Westbeld (Notre Dame/Kettering, Ohio), no longer are able to participate.The team will train from July 21-27 before traveling to Europe for the FIBA U19 World Cup, scheduled to be held Aug. 7-19 in Debrecen, Hungary.
In addition to DeBerry, Ware and Wolfenbarger, the USA roster features: Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./ Centennial, Colo.); Sonia Citron (The Ursuline School/Scarsdale, N.Y.); Caitlin Clark (Iowa/West Des Moines, Iowa); Sania Feagin (Forest Park H.S./Ellenwood, Ga.); Azzi Fudd (St. John’s College H.S., D.C./ Arlington, Va.); Diamond Johnson (North Carolina State/Philadelphia, Pa.); Te-hina Paopao (Oregon/Oceanside, Calif.); Jewel Spear (Wake Forest/The Colony, Texas); and Payton Verhulst (Louisville/DeSoto, Kan).
Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens, born on or after Jan. 1, 2002.
“It’s one thing in trials to try and start to get a sense of the team, but I’m excited for training camp because this is the group, this is the group that is going to compete for a gold medal and I’m just excited to get that process started,” said USA head coach Cori Close (UCLA).
South Dakota State University head coach Aaron Johnston and University of Georgia head coach Joni Taylor round out the coaching staff as assistant coaches.
“We’re going to have about seven days, and I think it’s really important for our staff to learn each other really quickly and put each other in positions of strength,” said Close. I am really lucky Joni (Taylor) is a spectacular coach and Aaron (Johnston) is a great basketball mind. I’m excited to learn from them and work together to create a really strong team, so we can bring home the gold.”
Included among the 12 athletes are five who were college freshmen in 2020-21, six current high school seniors who will matriculate to college in the fall and one player who is a high school junior from the Class of 2022.
The team includes two athletes who each have captured a pair of gold medals playing for USA Basketball. 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 team. They also 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 she 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 was DeBerry.
Additionally, Clark was a finalist for the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team, and Feagin was a finalist for the 2019 USA U16 squad.
Athletes who participated in at least one USA Basketball trials include Paopao, Spear and Wolfenbarger.
In 3x3 action, Betts, DeBerry, Fudd, Spear and Verhulst took part in either the 2018 or 2019 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championship.
Close hopes to bring this 2021 group to a gold medal in the same way she did back in 2019 as an assistant coach for both the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Team (7-0/gold) and the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship (6-0/gold).
Featuring U19 teams from 16 nations, the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup qualified nations include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, host Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mali, Russia, South Korea, Spain and the USA.
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.
The 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.
The USA U19 World Cup Team was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee. In addition to chair Jennifer Rizzotti (USA Women’s National Team assistant coach and. Connecticut Sun president), the 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.