2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team Finalists Announced
Following three days of trials featuring 35 of the nation’s top collegians, 14 finalists were named for the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team, USA Basketball today announced. The finalists, including six players who have previous international USA Basketball experience, 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.
“It was a difficult decision, because we had a lot of players who have had some USA Basketball experience trying out for the USA World University Games Team,” said Donohoe. “There were a lot of great players from across the country, but the real key for the committee is to take 12 individuals, 14 individuals that we feel like can assume specific roles within a team and come together as a unit so that the team’s successful and wins 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 thought the committee did a great job,” said Bill Fennelly, USA World University Games Team and Iowa State University head coach. “When you have 35 extremely talented kids, as coaches we were like, ‘wow, this is a tough job,’ but I thought they did a great job. It’s a good balance of players. All of them can bring a lot to this team and we can put together a really, really good club that will give us a chance to win a gold medal.”
The trials were held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the eventual 12-member team will look to defend the USA’s 2009 gold medal at the 2011 World University Games women’s basketball competition August 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.
Still in the hunt for one of the final 12 spots on the 2011 USA World University Games Team are: Elena Delle Donne (Delaware/Wilmington, Del.); Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame/South Bend, Ind.); Jacki Gemelos (USC/Stockton, Calif.); Keisha Hampton (DePaul/Philadelphia, Pa.); Glory Johnson (Tennessee/Knoxville, Tenn.); Shenise Johnson (Miami/Henrietta, N.Y.); Lynetta Kizer (Maryland/Woodbridge, Va.); Natalie Novosel (Notre Dame/Lexington, Ky.); Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford/Cypress, Texas); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Stanford/Cypress, Texas); Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame/Chicago, Ill.); Odyssey Sims (Baylor/Irving, Texas); Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee/Morrilton, Ark.); and April Sykes (Rutgers/Starkville, Miss.).
Athletes will return home today, May 25, and USA team training will resume at the USOTC July 31-Aug. 8, prior to the team’s departure for Shenzhen, China, and the 2011 World University Games.
Previous USA Basketball gold medalists include Diggins, Kizer, Nneka Ogwumike and Stricklen, who helped the U.S. collect gold at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina; while Diggins, Shenise Johnson and Nneka Ogwumike were members of the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team that captured the FIBA U19 World Championship gold medal in Bangkok, Thailand. Last summer Chiney Ogwumike helped the U.S. earn its berth to the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship by aiding the USA U18 National Team to the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Additionally, Nneka Ogwumike trained with the USA Select Team against the USA Women’s National Team in April of 2010.
The World University Games are a multi-sport competition organized every other year by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The U.S. women’s basketball team will be comprised of U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled in college and have remaining eligibility.
USA Basketball women’s teams have participated in 15 prior World University Games and collected a record seven gold medals, six silvers and one bronze medal. Since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled an 89-15 overall record. In 2009, led by 2010 FIBA World Champion Tina Charles, the USA posted a 7-0 slate en route to the gold medal. Notable among the list impressive list of WUG alumni are Olympians Seimone Augustus, Carol Blazejowski, Ruthie Bolton, Sylvia Fowles, Pat Head (Summitt), Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, McConnell (Serio), Ann Meyers (Drysdale), DeLisha Milton-Jones, Cappie Pondexter, Ruth Riley, Katie Smith, Katy Steding, Tina Thompson, Kara Wolters and Lynette Woodward.
Assisting Fennelly on the USA sideline are Suzie McConnell-Serio of Duquesne University and Terri Williams-Flournoy of Georgetown University.
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).