May 16, 2023 

Inside the AmeriCup and Under-19 World Cup rosters

Stars abound on both teams amid difficult decisions

The two biggest events for Team USA in women’s basketball this summer will be the AmeriCup and the Under-19 World Cup. This weekend, a field of nearly four dozen players came to Colorado Springs for two separate trials. By Monday, the selection committee determined who would move on to the June training camps, leading to the two tournaments.

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AmeriCup selects eight, five more invited to training camp

Some of the top collegiate American players will head to Leon, Mexico, for the AmeriCup from July 1-9. Although the U.S. qualified for the Paris Olympics due to winning the World Cup, the top four teams at the event will advance to the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in February 2024.

Eight players were named to the team following trials: Lauren Betts (UCLA), Rickea Jackson (Tennessee), Raven Johnson (South Carolina), Rayah Marshall (USC), Charisma Osborne (UCLA), Laila Phelia (Michigan), Angel Reese (LSU), Jewel Spear (Tennessee). Five more players were invited to fight for the final four roster spots at training camp: Janiah Barker (Texas A&M), Makira Cook (Illinois), Abbey Hsu (Columbia), Chance Gray (Oregon), Aneesah Morrow (just transferred from DePaul to LSU last week).

Kamie Ethridge celebrates with her players after knocking No. 3 ranked Utah out of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Photo Credit: Powers Imagery
Kamie Ethridge celebrates with her players after knocking No. 3 ranked Utah out of the Pac-12 Tournament on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Photo Credit: Powers Imagery

Kamie Ethridge, who just led Washington State to a surprise Pac-12 Tournament title in March, is the head coach. A 1986 NCAA champion at Texas, Ethridge won the gold medal as a player at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

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“I didn’t score a lot of points, but I made teams,” Ethridge told The Next. “There are so many different ways to communicate. We don’t need 12 All-Stars. These players check their university jerseys at the door or any antagonism or rivalry. People are encouraging one another.”

Coach Ethridge said the first thing she told the group was ‘Congratulations!’ but now it was time to focus. The current squad carries elite expectations because of everything the past players built at USAB.

“The reality is, this is going to be the youngest team in the event,” Ethridge said. “It’s 20 to 22-year-olds against 28 to 30-year-olds. We have targets on our back. The U.S. is expected to win the gold. The young players are eager to learn and put aside their individual agendas. It was a new situation for all of us, in the sense that we have not been to a trials before.”

She also added that the teams need to be “predominantly aggressive inside in the paint, high and low.” The international game is more of a power game than what these players see in college, so the post and rebounding areas will be of focus. Katrina Merriweather of the University of Cincinnati and Aaron Johnston of South Dakota State are Ethridge’s assistant coaches. Training camp will be from June 22-28.

The future of the national program, Under-19 age players scrimmage at trials in Colorado Springs—photo courtesy of USA Basketball.

Under-19 World Cup roster set

Joni Taylor joined the ranks of USAB head coaches last summer when she guided the Under-18 team to a gold medal at the Americas Championship in Buenos Aires. She went on to be an assistant to Cheryl Reeve at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney, winning the gold. This July, she will be at the helm of the American unit at the Under-19 World Cup in Madrid, Spain.

“I am very excited any time I am asked to be a part of USA Basketball,” said Taylor, who coaches Texas A&M. “It’s not the best talent who gets picked; it’s the best talent that plays together. It’s an honor to get invited, and if they don’t get picked, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have a great week. It was a chance to get better.”

The team will consist of: Madison Booker, Aalyah Del Rosario, Jadyn Donovan, Joyce Edwards, Hannah Hidalgo, Londynn Jones, Chloe Kitts, Talana Lepolo, Cotie McMahon, Kiki Rice, Grace Vanslooten, Allie Ziebell.

Jones (UCLA), Kitts (South Carolina), Lepolo (Stanford), McMahon (Ohio State), Rice (UCLA), and Vanslooten (Oregon) will be sophomores in college next season.

Booker (Texas), the 6’6 Del Rosario (LSU), Donovan (Duke), and Hidalgo (Notre Dame) are incoming freshmen. The 6’3 Edwards (Camden, S.C) and 5’11 Ziebell (Neenah, Wis.) are entering their senior high school years.

Del Rosario, Jones, Kitts, McMahon, Rice, and Vanslooten composed half of the team from the 2022 Under-18 Americas Championship. Assistant coaches DeLisha Milton-Jones and Terri Moren of Old Dominion and Indiana are also returning from the experience in Argentina last year.

“To have some continuity is something I am very grateful for,” Taylor said of the returning players. “Some were freshmen, some were seniors in high school, so it was really good to reunite with them.”

In addition, Booker, Donovan and Hidalgo won the gold medal at last summer’s Under-17 World Cup in Hungary.

“All of the players took trials really seriously,” Taylor added. “They understand that with USAB, there is no Plan B. There is only Plan A, and that is to win the gold medal.”

The U.S. is in Group B, alongside Germany, Mali and Chinese Taipei. Following the Colorado Springs training camp from July 2-6, the competition will run from July 15-23 in the Spanish capital.

In other FIBA news

At the recent draw for the FIBA Men’s World Cup, the 2026 Women’s World Cup was allocated in Berlin, Germany. Additionally, the 2027 Men’s event will take place in Doha, Qatar.

The FIBA 3X3 World Cup will be from May 30 to June 4 in Vienna, Austria.

The Women’s Under-16 Americas Championship will tip off on June 13 and conclude on June 19 in Merida, Mexico. U.S. Trials are May 26-30, and the training camp is June 1-7, both in Colorado Springs.

Written by Scott Mammoser

Scott Mammoser has covered major international events for FIBA, World Athletics and the International Skating Union. He has been to six Olympics and traveled to more than 90 countries.

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