COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Four BIG EAST players were named to the official 12-member 2011 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team, announced by head coach Bill Fennelly on Wednesday. The U.S. squad that will look to defend the USA's gold medal at the 2011 World University Games, Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China, features talented international veterans and some of the nation's top collegians.
After three days of practices with 14 USA team finalists at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., the following players were named to the team: 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.); 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) and Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee/Morrilton, Ark.).
"Getting the group down to 12 is one of the hardest things I've done in my lifetime, in coaching anyway," said Bill Fennelly, USA World University Games Team and Iowa State University head coach. "You have 14 people who worked very hard at it, who were very committed to it and it's not something like they weren't good enough. It's about trying to build a team with some versatility. It was very, very hard, but I'm very happy for the 12 young people who made it. They'll do a great job representing USA Basketball and ultimately that's what this is all about.
Assisting Fennelly on the USA sideline, there is another BIG EAST presence in Georgetown's Terri Williams-Flournoy.
The USA team will remain at the USOTC to train through Aug. 7, before traveling to Shenzhen for its final World University Games preparations. The U.S. opens play on Aug. 14 against Brazil, will face Slovakia on Aug. 15 and caps preliminary round action against Great Britain on Aug. 16. Quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 18, medal semifinals will be played Aug. 19 and the finals will be held Aug. 21. A complete schedule can be found on www.usabasketball.com or by clicking here.
Previous USA Basketball gold medalists include Diggins, Kizer, Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Stricklen, who helped the U.S. collect gold at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina; while Diggins, and Nnemkadi Ogwumike were members of the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team that captured the FIBA U19 World Championship gold medal in Bangkok, Thailand.The World University Games are a multi-sport competition organized every other year by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The USA women's basketball team will be comprised of U.S. citizens who are currently enrolled in college and have remaining eligibility.
Photo courtesy Steven Maikoski/USA Basketball