2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team Finalists Announced
Following three days of trials featuring 32 of the nation’s top 19-and-unders, 15 finalists, including 13 with prior USA Basketball international experience, were named to the 2011 USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team, USA Basketball today announced. Finalists were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president for Division I women’s basketball.
“The fact that so many of these kids had played together for USA Basketball was a factor,” said Donohoe. “Certainly you like kids who have good experience, whether it’s USA Basketball experience or it’s experience playing together. It’s the same situation with any team that we select: what skill sets do those kids bring? How do you mold those skill sets together as one unit in order to win a gold medal.
“I’ve done this since 2004 and it was probably as challenging for us as any year that we’ve been here. Because there were so many talented players here, there were so many players who have had previous USA Basketball experience, those decisions were really hard. We were making changes as late as late last night. At a point we just said that we felt good about what we had. We put together two teams that we believe can be very successful, but it was a challenge.
“I think this team is great, I’m really excited,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U19 World Championship Team and University of Hartford head coach. “I think the committee did a great job. I know it wasn’t easy to pick, because we had so many talented players here. We have a really nice mix of experienced USA Basketball players, a few college players, and then some new guys who I think will be really hungry to make this USA Basketball team. I think it’s really exciting and I’m really looking forward to working with them next week.”
Named as finalists for the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team were: Jordan Adams (Mater Dei H.S. / Irvine, Calif.); Cierra Burdick (Butler H.S. / Matthews, N.C.); Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S. / Norcross, Ga.); Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut / Port Jervis, N.Y.); Bria Hartley (Connecticut / North Babylon, N.Y.); Mo Jefferson (Texas Home Educators Sports Association / Glenn Heights, Texas); Alexis Jones (Irving MacArthur H.S. / Irving, Texas); Betnijah Laney (Smyrna H.S. / Clayton, Del.); Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S. / Bolingbrook, Ill.); Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Mater Dei H.S. / Anaheim, Calif.); Meighan Simmons (Tennessee / Cibolo, Texas); Imani Stafford (Winward H.S. / Los Angeles, Calif.); Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.); Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S. / Bolingbrook, Ill.); and Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S. / Virginia Beach, Va.).
Trials were held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The USA U19 team finalists will reconvene on June 1 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as part of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase. The USA will train for four days before facing the Brazil U19 National Team on June 5 (12:30 p.m. EDT). The game will be televised on ESPNU and also shown online at ESPN3.com. Following the USA’s game against Brazil, the final 12-member team will be announced.
Following the USA’s June 1-5 training camp, the 12-member squad will reassemble July 11-15 for training at the USOTC, before the team travels to Chile for its final preparations.
As the winner of the past three U19 World Championships, the USA will look to defend its title at the 2011 U19 Worlds, hosted by Chile from July 21-31 in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. The USA has been drawn into Group B for preliminary round play and will tip-off against Japan on July 21 (12:30 p.m. EDT), face Russia on July 22 (12:30 p.m. EDT) and close the first round against Argentina on July 23 (3:30 p.m. EDT). The second round will be played July 25-27, quarterfinals are slated for July 29, semifinals will be held on July 30 and the finals are scheduled for July 31.
Only U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible for the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team.
In 2009 Adams, Burdick, Laney, Massengale, Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart and Williams were members of the USA U16 National Team that captured gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mexico City, Mexico. Laney, Massengale, Mosqueda-Lewis, Stafford, Tuck and Williams then took gold at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship in France.
Last summer DeShields, Dolson, Hartley and Jones aided the U.S. to gold at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, held at the USOTC, which qualified USA Basketball for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Assistant coaches for the USA U19 World Championship Team are Sue Semrau of Florida State University and Joi Williams of the University of Central Florida.
In addition to Donohoe, the committee includes NCAA appointees Joanne Boyle (University of Virginia), Coquese Washington (Penn State University) and Connie Yori (University of Nebraska), as well as athlete representative Beth Cunningham (Virginia Commonwealth University, 1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years from 1985 through 2005. FIBA now conducts the U19 World Championship every other year. USA women's teams are 49-11 all-time in U19/Junior World championships, most recently capturing a third consecutive gold with an 8-1 record in 2009.
Some of the top players who have represented the United States in past FIBA U19 World Championships include: Angela Aycock (1993); Alana Beard (2001); Essence Carson (2005); Tamika Catchings (1997); Monique Currie (2001); Crystal Langhorne (2005); Erlana Larkins (2005); Jantel Lavender (2007); Lisa Leslie (1989); Rebecca Lobo (1993); Maya Moore (2007); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009); Vickie Orr (1985); Courtney Paris (2005); Cappie Pondexter (2001); Katie Smith (1993); Dawn Staley (1989); Ann Strother (2001); Diana Taurasi (2001); Abby Waner (2005); and Candice Wiggins (2005).