COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 2, 2012) -The 2012 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team will reconvene for training camp Aug. 4-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. where it will undertake its final preparations for the upcoming FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women. Candice Agee (Silverado H.S./Victorville, Calif.) has been added to the 12-player roster to replace Imani Stafford (Windward School/Los Angeles, Calif.), who is unable to participate due to injury.
Following its camp at the USOTC, the team will depart for San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Aug. 12 for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will take place Aug. 15-19.
"We have a heck of a lot of work to do in a very short time," said USA and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. "Number one, we must establish our identity and chemistry. This is a special group of women and I know they will play extremely hard for each other. I'm so excited to re-group. As I've said, this is a special group. They truly enjoy each other and they also really push each other in practice. I can't wait to compete."
The USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee announced the roster on May 21 after three days of trials at the USOTC. The 12-member squad, in addition to Agee, includes 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.) and previous USA gold medalists Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S. / Clarksville, Tenn.); Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./ Bolingbrook, Ill.); and Jannah Tucker (New Town H.S. / Randallstown, Md.). The team also features three-time trials participant Moriah Jefferson (Texas Home Educators Sports Association / Glenn Heights, Texas); two-time trials participant Alexis Prince (Edgewater / Orlando, Fla.); 2010 USA U16 National Team trials participants Kendall Cooper (St. Anthony H.S. / Carson, Calif.) and Allisha Gray (Washington County H.S / Sandersville, Ga.); and USA Basketball newcomers Agee; Lexie Brown (North Gwinnett H.S. / Suwanee, Ga.); Michaela Mabrey (Manasquan H.S. / Belmar, N.J.) and Brittney Sykes (University H.S. / Newark, N.J.).
Meier is assisted by collegiate head coaches Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University and Kelly Graves of Gonzaga University.
One week after the team was announced and returned home to their respective cities, the squad reconvened in Orlando, Fla., for five days of training that culminated with a 97-36 exhibition win over Brazil on May 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resorts.
Arriving in Colorado Springs on Aug. 3, the team will conduct practices at the USOTC's Sports Center II on Aug. 4 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Aug. 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10. On Aug. 8 and Aug. 11, only one practiced is scheduled at 10 a.m. All times listed are local, MDT, and practices are closed except to credentialed media.
The squad will practice in San Juan on Aug. 14. The USA has been placed in preliminary round Group A for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and will open against Dominican Republic on Aug. 15. The USA will play Argentina on Aug. 16 and then face Colombia on Aug. 17 to wrap up preliminary pool play.
The top two teams from each preliminary round group will be seeded and advance to the medal semifinals on Aug. 18. Winners of the semifinals will compete in the gold medal game to be played on Aug. 19.
The only high school athlete on the 2011 USA Women's Pan American Games Team, Stewart is the most internationally experienced player on the squad. The unanimous 2012 National High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year teamed up last summer with Tuck to help lead the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team to a gold medal in Chile. In 2010 Bashaara Graves, Stewart, and Tuck were members of the USA U17 World Championship Team that captured the gold medal with a perfect 8-0 mark at the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship; Tucker won a gold medal with the 2010 USA U18 National Team at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship; while in 2009 Bashaara Graves and Stewart were on the USA U16 National Team that won the gold medal and earned the USA's berth to the 2010 U17 Worlds. Tuck was named to the 2009 USA U16 National Team, but was injured and withdrew. On July 31, Gray was named to the 2012 USA U18 3x3 National Team which will compete at the 2012 FIBA U18 3x3 World Championship to be held Sept. 27-30 in Seville, Spain.
The USA women are the reigning FIBA Americas U18 champion after going 5-0 to win gold in 2010.
Source: USA Basketball