June 15, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Following three days of practices featuring 14 team finalists, USA Basketball announced today the official 12-member 2007 USA Basketball Women’s U21 World Championship Team roster. Included on the roster, which features 2007-08 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team member Courtney Paris (Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.), are 11 who have donned a USA Basketball uniform in the past. The USA will look to defend its world title in this age group, open to athletes 21 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1986), at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship, held this year June 29 July 8 in Moscow, Russia.
The final 12-member team includes: Jolene Anderson (Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.); DeWanna Bonner (Auburn / Fairfield, Ala.); Essence Carson (Rutgers / Paterson, N.J.); Laura Harper (Maryland / Elkins Park, Pa.); Ashley Houts (Georgia / Trenton, Ga.); Crystal Langhorne (Maryland / Willingboro, N.J.); Marscilla Packer (Ohio State / Pickerington, Ohio); Paris; Kia Vaughn (Rutgers / Bronx, N.Y.); Abby Waner (Duke / Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Candice Wiggins (Stanford / San Diego, Calif.); and Lindsay Wisdom Hylton (Purdue / Naperville, Ill.).
Paris has competed for Team USA each of the last three summers. She has come home with a gold medal on each of those occasions. With the U20 World Championship Team last summer, Paris led the US in scoring and rebounding with averages of 14.2 and 8.4, respectively. Her participation with the U21 World Championship Team precedes involvement with USA Women’s Senior National Team.
The selections were made by a subcommittee of the USA Basketball Women’s Collegiate Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA’s vice president of Division I women’s basketball. The USA Collegiate Subcommittee included athlete representative Beth Cunningham (Virginia Commonwealth University), a member of the 1999 USA Pan American Games Team; NCAA representative Jim Foster (Ohio State University); and NAIA representative Martha Gore Algernon (University of Mobile).
“This is a fantastic group, I’m really excited about this group,” said USA U21 National Team and Duke University (N.C.) head coach Joanne P. McCallie. “They’re all very talented and it’s going to be fun to go from being individually elite to building an elite team. That’s the process we’re in right now. I think we’ve gotten better every day and I definitely have the confidence that every single one of these players will be able to help us in various ways. The excitement surrounding the team now is taking it to the next level as we work toward the U21 World Championship.”
The USA concludes its domestic training this evening at 5:00 p.m. (all times local) at the U.S. Olympic Training Center Sports Center I in Colorado Springs, Colo. The squad will then travel to Antibes, France, for a June 18-25 training camp prior to the start of the U21 World Championship on June 29 in Moscow. While in France, the U.S. will play a three-game series against the French U21 National Team at 7:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. EDT) on June 18, 19 and 20. The first contest is slated to be played in Monaco, on June 19 the teams will face each other in Antibes and the series concludes in La Garde on June 20.
“I think it’s great for us to be able to play these three games against France,” said McCallie. “All competition is great, just to get after it and test ourselves out a little bit is what we really need. Getting over the pond and heading in the direction we need to go will be great for everybody. I believe this team is excited and ready to play against a foreign team. To get after that kind of competition after playing so much against themselves this week will be what we need to take the next steps in our preparation for Russia.”
Included on the squad are seven who helped the U.S. qualify for the FIBA U21 World Championship and a total of nine who have won gold medals in international competition. The seven athletes who return from the 2006 USA U20 National Team that captured the gold medal in Mexico City, Mexico, include Anderson, Bonner, Carson, Packer, Paris, Vaughn and Wisdom Hylton. In 2005 Anderson, Carson, Langhorne, Paris, Waner and Wiggins captured the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship. Prior to the U19 Worlds, that group also won the 2005 International Sports Invitational gold medal. In 2004 Carson, Harper, Paris, Waner and Wiggins started their age group off on the right foot by sweeping the competition at the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship to collect the gold medal. Getting their start in a USA Basketball uniform at the 2004 USA Youth Development Festival were Paris, Vaughn and Waner; while Carson, Harper, Langhorne, Packer, Wiggins and Wisdom Hylton all competed in the 2003 USA Youth Development Festival.
Additionally, Paris recently returned from Italy after helping the USA Senior National Team to a 4 0 slate against the Italian National Team, a pair of professional clubs and the Pomezia Region All Stars.
McCallie is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Sam Dixon of Furman University (S.C.), an assistant to McCallie last summer, and Arizona State University’s Charli Turner Thorne.
The United States was placed in Group B in the 12 nation 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship along with Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Japan and Spain. Group A includes Belgium, Canada, China, Mali, France and Russia.