USA WU18 National Team Ready for FIBA Americas Championship
The 2022 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team will descend on Buenos Aires this week to vie for its 11th FIBA U18 Americas Championship title. The USA will kick off group play Monday vs. Colombia at 2:30 p.m. ET live on FIBA’s official YouTube channel.
In her first USA Basketball head coaching assignment, Joni Taylor (Texas A&M University) will helm a squad that features Kiki Rice, the 2022 Gatorade National and Naismith High School player of the year. Rice, a 2022 McDonald’s and WBCA All-American is one of six All-America players on the team, including Isuneh Brady, Londynn Jones, Chloe Kitts, Indya Nivar and Justine Pissott.
“Our excitement level is really high. We had good practices to end training camp,” Taylor said. “We want to make sure we are solid about what we are doing on both ends of the court because we are going to Argentina to compete for a gold medal.”
Taylor will be assisted on the bench by two-time Olympic and World Cup champion DeLisha Milton-Jones (Old Dominion University) and Teri Moren (Indiana University), both of whom have prior USA Basketball coaching experience.
The USA roster includes several athletes who will don the red, white and blue internationally for the first time. Though Brady, S’Mya Nichols, Nivar and Grace VanSlooten participated in the 2019 U16 National Team Trials, they will make their competitive debuts in Argentina. Also making their first international appearances are Alayah Del Rosario, Kailyn Gilbert, Cotie McMahon, Courtney Ogden and Pissott.
Jones and Rice were members of the USA WU16 National Team that earned the gold medal over Canada at the 2019 FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship in Chile. Additionally, Rice was a member of the 2021 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 World Cup Team that won gold in Hungary.
“We have a lot of people who can play in transition and make good decisions,” Taylor said of her team. “We have versatile players who can play multiple positions. We have a great inside presence; we are long and athletic. I think we have a lot of things that are strengths for us that can help us on both sides of the ball.”
After tipping off competition Monday against Colombia, the USA, as part of group B, will play two more group stage games on Tuesday vs. Puerto Rico and Wednesday vs. El Salvador. Both games will start at 2:30 p.m. ET. The quarterfinals begin Friday.
USA Basketball holds a 59-2 record in FIBA WU18 competitions dating back to 1988 and has won eight consecutive gold medals dating back to 2004.