Paris-Led USA Squad Honored

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The 2005 USA Women's U19 World Championship Team, which dominated the 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship with a perfect 8-0 record and the gold medal in Tunis, Tunisia, has been selected as the 2005 USA Basketball Team of the Year by the USA Basketball Executive Committee.

Oklahoma freshman Courtney Paris was an integral part of the USA squad and finished the tourney with averages of 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.  She led the USA squad in rebounding, was third in scoring and finished third among all FIBA competitors with a .662 shooting percentage.  In individual games she led the team in rebounding three times and scoring once.

In addition to the U19 World Championship crown, the squad earned a 1-1 record in exhibition play against the Hungary U19 National Team and finalists for the USA squad rolled through its competition at the 2005 International Sports Invitational for a 4-0 slate and the gold medal in San Diego, Calif.

With its selection as USA Basketball's Team of the Year, the squad becomes eligible for the 2005 U.S. Olympic Team of the Year award which will be announced by the USOC at a later date.

"I'm very proud of our Women's U19 World Championship Team ," said USA Basketball Executive Director Jim Tooley. "Not only did they bring home the gold, but they did so in dominant fashion winning by an average of 46.3 points per game. This was a terrific team effort, and I look forward to seeing many of these young players on future
USA Basketball teams."

2005 marks the 10th time the USA Basketball Team of the Year Award has been presented. The award has been earned by the historic 1996 U.S. Women's Olympic Team / USA Women's National Team, 1997 USA Women's Junior World Championship Team, 1998 and 2002 USA Women's World Championship squads, 1999 USA Men's Tournament of the Americas Team, 2000 and 2004 U.S. Women's Olympic / USA Women's Senior National teams and the 2001 USA World Championship For Young Men Team.

Duke University's (N.C.) Gail Goestenkors served as head coach for the U.S. squad, while Hofstra University's (N.Y.) Felisha Legette-Jack and University of Mississippi's Carol Ross assisted Goestenkors on the sidelines.

The 12-member USA U19 World Championship Team included 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship MVP Crystal Langhorne (Maryland / Willingboro, NJ), who was joined on the All-U19 World Championship Team by Candice Wiggins (Stanford / Poway, Calif.). Also aiding the U.S. to gold were Jolene Anderson (Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.); Nicky Anosike (Tennessee / Staten Island, N.Y.); Erika Arriaran (Norco High School / Norco, Calif.); Essence Carson (Rutgers / Paterson, N.J.); Marissa Coleman (St. Johns College High School / Cheltenham, Md.); Erlana Larkins (North Carolina / Riviera Beach, Fla.); Courtney Paris (Piedmont High School / Piedmont, Calif.); Abby Waner (ThunderRidge High School / Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Christina Wirth (Seton Catholic High School / Mesa, Ariz.) and Sharnee' Zoll (Virginia / Philadelphia, Pa.).

The squad was in control from the start, earning a 98-65 victory over Russia to open up play on July 15. The U.S. then posted a lopsided 124-37 win over the Congo on July 16, took Serbia & Montenegro for a 94-68 whirl on July 17, steam rolled Puerto Rico 116-28 on July 19 and closed out preliminary play with a 129-74 performance over South Korea on July 20. The July 22 quarterfinals saw the United States exact revenge on Hungary, the only team to beat the U.S. last summer in exhibition play, to a tune of 85-55 and after a 99-68 semifinal victory over eventual bronze medalist China on July 23, the red, white and blue found itself in a gold medal rematch with Serbia & Montenegro. Earning a 24-12 cushion after the first quarter, the USA never looked back en route to its 97-76 gold medal victory.

How dominating was the 05 team's performance at the U19 World Championship?
Statistically, the USA averaged 105.9 points a game, and won its eight games by a whopping average margin of victory of 46.3 points a game.

By winning all eight of its games, the U.S. became just the third team to emerge from the U19 World Championship undefeated and the first team to go 8-0. Of the 16 USA team records for the event, the 2005 squad shattered 10 of the previous marks, including most points (842); highest scoring average; most field goals made (340) and attempted (567); highest field goal percentage (.600); most free throws made (118) and attempted (183); most rebounds (355); and most assists (183). Of 14 USA single game marks, 11 were rewritten and two others tied. In the 2005 U19 World Championship overall statistics, the USA as a team finished ranked tops in 11 categories.

Five U.S. players finished averaging in double figures. While Langhorne (16.6 ppg.) and Wiggins (15.8 ppg.) ranked one-two in scoring, Paris added 12.4 ppg., Anosike dumped in 11.4 ppg., and Larkins added 10.8 rpg.

The U.S. ruled the glass, outrebounding its opponents by 24.4 rebounds a game. Larkins and Paris led the U.S. on the boards grabbing 7.0 rpg., while Langhorne snagged 6.4 rpg. and Anosike added 5.3 a game.

The U.S. surpassed the previous record for the championship by a whopping 96 assists, smashing the mark of 87 set in 2001. Zoll handed out 3.4 assists a game, Waner contributed 3.0 assists, Arriaran passed out 2.6 apg. and Carson contributed 2.4 assists and a team best 2.4 steals a game

Formerly known as the FIBA Women's Junior World Championship and held every four years since 1985, the USA's capturing of gold in 2005 marked just the second time the American women have claimed gold in the six U19 World Championships. The U.S. now boasts of a 32-10 overall record and has captured two gold (2005, 1997) and one bronze medal (2001).

Prior to arriving in Tunisia, the team's 15 finalists finished 4-0 and won gold at the 2005 International Sports Invitational in San Diego, Calif. Held June 8-11, U19 teams from the USA, Australia, China and Russia all competed in the tournament. The 12-member squad then split a pair of exhibition games against Hungary's U19 squad in Budapest July 9-10.