USA Basketball Announces 16 Finalists for 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team
Colorado Springs, Colo. - June 11, 2010
The 16 finalists include: Sidney Cook (Southmoore H.S./Moore, Okla.); Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.); Stefanie Dolson (Minisink Valley H.S./Port Jervis, N.Y.); Raven Ferguson (Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio); Reshanda Gray (Washington Prep H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); Cassie Harberts (San Clemente H.S./San Clemente, Calif.); Bria Hartley (North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, N.Y.); Malina Howard (Twinsburg H.S./Twinsburg, Ohio); Afure Jemerigbe (St. Mary's H.S./Stockton, Calif.); Alexis Jones (MacArthur H.S./Irving, Texas); Allyson Malott (Madison H.S./Middletown, Ohio); Kayla McBride (Villa Maria Academy/Erie, Pa.); Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S./Cypress, Texas); Cassie Peoples (Cy-Fair H.S./Houston, Texas); Haley Peters (The Peddie School/Red Bank, N.J.) and Theresa Plaisance (Vandebilt Catholic H.S./Marrero, La.).
Of the 16 finalists, only 12 will make the 2010 USA U18 National Team, which will compete in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, June 23-27 at the USOTC. The final, 12-player team will be announced no later than the afternoon of June 14, after several additional practice sessions.
Twelve of the finalists were part of the field of 27 players participating in the trials for the USA U18 National Team, and four of the finalists (Cook, DeShields, Howard and Jones) were among the 36 participating in the USA U17 World Championship Team Trials. Since players must have been born on or before Jan. 1, 1992 to be eligible for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, all players from both trials were eligible to play on the U18 National Team.
"It was a unique situation, having the U17s and U18s going on at the same time, but I thought being able to inter-mingle the groups helped us get a clear-cut idea of who was ready," said Jen Rizzotti, USA U18 and University of Hartford head coach. "I'm really excited. I couldn't be happier. I just want to get going and get them in the gym. It's hard to manage 27 kids, but to know you have 16 " and again, you have an opportunity to make it really competitive, because they can't be complacent about making the team, they know it's still a trial process " I think it allows us to really have competitive practices."
The USA Junior National Team Committee is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president for Division I women's basketball, and includes Joanne Boyle (University of California head coach), Coquese Washington (Penn State University head coach), Connie Yori (University of Nebraska head coach), and athlete representative Beth Cunningham (1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).
Rizzotti, an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning 2006 USA U18 National Team, will be assisted by Florida State University head coach Sue Semrau and University of Central Florida head coach Joi Williams, both of whom are first-time USA coaches.
After the 2010 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team is announced, the team will stay in Colorado Springs to train before competing in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women.
Of the 16 finalists, three " Howard, Jones and Ogwumike " have previous USA Basketball experience.
Both Howard and Jones participated in the 2009 USA U16 National Team Trials, and Ogwumike, who earned numerous 2010 National Player of the Year honors, took part in the trials for the 2008 USA U18 National Team despite being just 16 years old at the time.
Seven of the 16 finalists played in the 2010 McDonald's All-American game in March, including Dolson, Hartley, Jemerigbe, McBride, Ogwumike, Peters, Plaisance.
Harberts, Hartley, Jemerigbe and Ogwumike also played in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Game in April, and Ogwumike led all scorers with 24 points.
Additionally, ParadeMagazine recognized Hartley and Ogwumike as All-America first team members; Jemerigbe, McBride and Peters as second team members; Harberts as a member of third team; and DeShields and Dolson as members of the fourth team.
USA Today also named Ogwumike to its All-USA first team, and chose her as its 2010 Player of the Year. Hartley and Jemerigbe made the All-USA second team; and Dolson was an All-USA third team member.
While Ogwumike was named both the Gatorade National and Texas State Player of the Year, Hartley (New York), McBride (Pennsylvania), Peters (New Jersey) and Plaisance (Louisiana) also earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors in their respective states.
The finalists also features a pair of accomplished teammates, Ogwumike and Peoples, who together led Cy-Fair to a Class 5A Texas state championship and a No. 6 national ranking by USA Today.
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women tournament format features eight teams divided into two preliminary round groups: Canada, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico in Group A; and Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico and the USA in Group B. Preliminary round play will be held June 23, 24 and 25, and each team will play the other three teams in its preliminary group. The top two finishing teams in each preliminary round group will then advance to the June 26 medal round semifinals and play for 1st-4th places. Teams placing third and fourth in each preliminary round group will advance to the June 26 consolation semifinals and play for 5th-8th places. The FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women finals will be held Sunday, June 27.