COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Following three days of tryouts featuring 32 of the nation's top 18-and-unders (born on or after Jan. 1, 1988), USA Basketball announced the final 12-member team that will compete in the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Women later this month. University of Texas incoming freshman Brittainey Raven (Fort Worth, Texas/North Crowley HS), a 6-0 guard and consensus All-American and the 2006 Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year for Texas, was one of the 12 selected to this elite USA squad.
The U18 Championships will take place June 28-July 2 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. and will be hosted by USA Basketball. In addition to the United States, participating teams include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Puerto Rico. The event, which will be held in Sports Center I, is free and open to the public.
The top four finishing teams will earn qualifying berths for the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship, slated to be held July 7-22 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The 2006 USA U18 Women's National Team includes consensus 2006 National High School Player of the Year Tina Charles (Jamaica, N.Y.). In addition to Charles and Raven, named to the 2006 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team were: Jayne Appel (Carondelet H.S./Pleasant Hill, Calif.); Victoria Baugh (Sacramento H.S./Sacramento, Calif.); Kelley Cain (St. Pius X H.S./Atlanta, Ga.); Nikitta Gartrell (Benjamin E. Mays H.S./Lithia Springs, Ga.); Stefanie Gilbreath (Cinco Ranch H.S./Katy, Texas); Jantel Lavender (Cleveland Central Catholic H.S./Cleveland, Ohio); Italee Lucas (Centennial H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.); Maya Moore (Collins H.S. / Lawrenceville, Ga.); Kayla Pedersen (Red Mountain H.S./Fountain Hills, Ariz.); and Khadijah Rushdan (St. Elizabeth H.S./Wilmington, Del.). USA team selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president of Division I women's basketball.
Raven, Gantrell, Appel and Charles previously competed for USA Basketball at the 2005 Youth Development Festival last summer.
"As a coaching staff, Jennifer Rizzotti, Carol Owens and I are all excited about the team that the Committee has presented to us," said USA U18 head coach and DePaul University (Ill.) head coach Doug Bruno. "We feel like there's great young talent both in the inside and on the outside of the perimeter and we're really excited about the opportunity to mold them into an exceptional team for the United States.
"With the talent that is here, if we're willing to embrace roles, if we're willing to work together here in a short period of time, play together and play as a team, I really believe that we will be able to achieve our goal of winning the gold."
Joining Charles on the USA Today All-USA first team was Moore, while Appel and Raven were selected to the All-USA second team. Among the 2006 Parade Magazine All-America teams were first team selections Appel, Charles, Moore and Raven; Lucas was named to the second team; Lavender and Pedersen were named to the Parade All-America third team; while Gilbreath and Rushdan were listed on Parade's fourth team.
All four of the rising college freshmen were honored by the WBCA as 2006 All-Americans as Appel, Charles and Raven were named to the First Team. Additionally, Appel, Charles and Raven were named 2006 McDonald's All-Americans and played in the McDonald's All-America Game. Joining Raven as a Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year were Appel (California), Charles (New York), Moore (Georgia), Pedersen (Arizona).
The USA U18 squad will remain in Colorado Springs and train June 19-27 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in preparation for the USA Basketball-hosted tournament. The training camp will be highlighted by an exhibition game against the Canadian U18 National Team at 5:00 p.m. (all times MDT) on June 23rd at the Fort Carson Special Events Center in Fort Carson, Colo. The USA - Canada exhibition contest will be free and open to members of the U.S. military and their families.
USA Basketball Q&A with Brittainey Raven
Upon selection to the USA U18 Team, officials at USA Basketball interviewed Texas' rising freshman Brittainey Raven about her selection to the national squad.
How do you feel about having the opportunity to represent your country? "I feel honored, I'm excited, and I want to bring the gold home."
What are you expecting over the next week leading into the tournament? "A lot of hard practices, a lot of coaching, a lot of learning new stuff, and a lot of chemistry with the team."
What do you think the committee wanted and why do you think they chose you? "Probably because I'm enthusiastic. I like to support my teammates, and I play hard."
What are your goals for this team? "Win, play as hard as I can, give 100 percent every game and practice, and be a team player."
2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Women Facts
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Wednesday, June 28 - Sunday, July 2, 2006
Note: The first (3) finishing teams qualify for the 2007 FIBA U19 Women's World Championship, which will be held in Bratislava, Slovakia.
USA Head Coach: Doug Bruno, DePaul University
USA Assistant Coaches: Carol Owens, Northern Illinois University; Jennifer Rizzotti, University of Hartford
USA Team: Jayne Appel, Victoria Baugh, Kelley Cain, Tina Charles, Nikitta Gartrell, Stefanie Gilbreath, Jantel Lavender, Italee Lucas, Maya Moore, Kayla Pedersen, Brittainey Raven, Khadijah Rushdan
Nations Competing: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and USA
Defending FIBA Americas U18 Champion: United States
USA's FIBA America U18 Championship Record: 24-2
USA Medal Count: 3 gold, 2 silver
USA's FIBA Americas U18 Championship Winning Streak: 10 games
Preliminary Round Groups:
Group A: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, USA
Group B: Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico
USA Basketball Under 18 Team Training and Scrimmages: Monday, June 19-Tuesday, June 27
Wednesday, June 28- Preliminary Round
11:30 a.m. Argentina - Costa Rica
1:45 p.m. Puerto Rico - Canada
4:00 p.m. Brazil - Dominican Republic
6:15 p.m. USA - Paraguay
Thursday, June 29- Preliminary Round
11:30 a.m. Costa Rica - Puerto Rico
1:45 p.m. Argentina - Canada
4:00 p.m. Brazil - Paraguay
6:15 p.m. Dominican Republic - USA
Friday, June 30- Preliminary Round
11:30 a.m. Canada - Costa Rica
1:45 p.m. Puerto Rico - Argentina
4:00 p.m. Paraguay - Dominican Republic
6:15 p.m. USA - Brazil
Saturday, July 1- Semifinals
11:30 a.m. Pool A #3 team vs. Pool B #4 team
1:45 p.m. B3 - A4
4:00 p.m. B1 - A2
6:15 p.m. A1 - B2
Sunday, July 2- Finals
11:30 a.m. 7th/8th Place Game: Loser A3/B4 vs. Loser B3/A4
1:45 p.m 5th/6th Place Game: Winner A3/B4 vs. Winner B3/A4
4:00 p.m. Bronze Medal Game: Loser B1/A2 vs. Loser A1/B2
6:15 p.m. Gold Medal Game: Winner B1/A2 vs. Winner A1/B2