USA Basketball Women’s National Team’s unifying message in action-packed 2023
Ahead of what promises to be a busy 2023, the word on Briana Weiss’ mind is joy.
Weiss, USA Basketball’s Women’s National Team Director, is looking toward a year that includes February and November women’s national team international windows, an inaugural Nike Hoop Summit, AmeriCup, the U19 World Cup and the U16 Americas Championship.
In each competition, the goal is to win gold and play at a high level, but additionally, another goal is to provide something more – something intangible – that can stand the test of time – lasting memories.
“Yes, we hope all of our teams are at the top of the podium and that all of the hard work results in gold medals,” Weiss said. “But we also really hope that the athletes walk away with a lot of joyful memories.”
Creating those memories starts in February when USA Basketball will use the international window for a national team training camp. Weiss described it as an “exciting” time when available players will come in and focus on getting better and the USA Basketball experience.
“We’ll have a group for training and it’ll give [women’s national team head coach] Cheryl Reeve a chance to work with the players and vice-versa,” Weiss said. “We are really looking forward to that.”
USA Basketball will host the first-ever Women’s Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon, where the top American high school seniors will face off against a world team of international players 19 years and younger.
“It’s always fun to have an inaugural event,” Weiss said. “We are so excited to get into that competition and have the USA versus World on the women’s side and offer an opportunity for the best domestic athletes in the graduating class of 2023 to put on that USA jersey and have a competitive game.”
Throughout May, USA Basketball will focus on team trials for the U19, AmeriCup and U16 competitions this summer. The 2023 FIBA Women’s U19 World Cup and 2023 FIBA AmeriCup will be played in late June and July, while the 2023 FIBA Women’s U16 Americas Championship will precede them.
All team trials will take place in Colorado Springs, which, to Weiss, serves as an advantage due to familiarity and facilities.
At the AmeriCup, the USA will attempt to capture its third title. Unlike other senior national competitions, the U.S. will send a roster that looks a little different due to the competition coinciding with the WNBA season.
To Weiss, the timing of the competition presents a unique provocation, as USA Basketball attempts to put together a group that can defend its 2021 success.
“Our focus will predominantly be on college athletes to go and compete at this national-level competition,” she said. “So, that's a unique challenge. And with that challenge, you just have to buckle down and do your work.”
For both the U16 and the U19 competitions, defending a gold medal is in the cards for the USA. Boasting a 36-1 all-time record in the U16 competition, the USA has a chance to win a seventh gold medal and fourth in a row. At the U19 World Cup – which will take place in Madrid - a 10th gold medal and three-peat are at play for the USA, which holds a 93-13 overall record.
Gold is the evident standard for success. But in what promises to be a busy year, Weiss and her team, are leaning on joy, creating lasting memories and the love of the process to get the job done.
“When we are aiming for gold, that starts months before,” Weiss said. “We are going to try and make sure we are continuing to uphold that sense of excellence.”
In a hectic 2023, where USA Basketball will be sent to a host of different countries and cities, that call for a pursuit of excellence is unifying enough.