USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team Departs For Italy
Colorado Springs, Colo. • Aug. 8, 2012
The 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team broke training camp on Wednesday morning and set out for Caorle, Italy, where they will practice and play three exhibition games in preparation for the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women, which will be played Aug. 17-26 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The USA U17 squad began training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Aug. 2, and conducted two-a-day practices each day through Tuesday, Aug. 7. The U17 team scrimmaged multiple times against both a team of local men’s players, as well as the USA U18 National Team who is at the USOTC to train for the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women later this month.
“I think we got out of it what we needed to get out of it,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “We struggled a little early in the week and in the middle stages, but the last two-and-a-half days, I feel like this team is starting to come around in terms of its personality. Last night, I saw what I was expecting to see out of this basketball team.”
Jessica Washington (Jenks H.S./Tulsa, Okla.) feels the grind of training camp will help prepare the team for the FIBA World Championship ahead. “Our coaches really pushed 110 percent out of us,” said Washington. “Two-a-days were no joke; I’ve never been through something that pushed us this much. The preparation was great.”
The U.S. will play exhibitions in Italy on three consecutive days, taking on Brazil on Friday, Aug. 10, Australia on Saturday, Aug. 11, and Italy on Sunday, Aug. 12.
“More than anything, it will be great to force us to get over our jet lag and get into the routine we’ll need to be in for Amsterdam,” said Schneider of the benefit of the exhibition games in Italy. “I don’t know what to expect in terms of what our performance may look like over there, but I’m glad we have the opportunity to play three games and get into that routine against three really good opponents.”
The ultimate goal is to win gold at the FIBA U17 World Championship. Schneider feels the squad is on their way, but still needs to improve upon some areas in order to stand atop the podium in Amsterdam.
“We’ve got to get a lot more consistent defensively and on the boards,” Schneider said. “We play good defense at times, but we haven’t really shown the ability to sustain that over four periods.”
The USA has been placed in preliminary round Group A for the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and will open against South Korea at 9:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 17, followed by Canada at 9:15 p.m. (3:15 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 18 and Italy at 4:45 p.m. (10:55 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 19. After a rest day for all teams on Aug. 20, the USA will take on Belgium at 2:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 21 and wrap up preliminary round play against Mali at 10 a.m. (4 a.m.) on Aug. 22.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group will advance to the medal quarterfinals on Aug. 24. Winners of the quarterfinals will compete in the medal semifinals on Aug. 25, and the gold medal game will be played on Aug. 26.
While the USA is certainly focused on the task at hand, they are also looking forward to the opportunity of traveling through Europe. For Washington, this trip will be her first time out of the country.
“It’s my first time so I’m ready to see the differences in the countries we go to,” said Washington. “Change is always good so I’m excited to see Italy and Amsterdam.”
The journey, which began with trials at the USOTC in May, continues as the U.S. departs for the continent on which they hope to wear gold around their necks come Aug. 26.