Aug. 1, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - Following three days of training in Costa Mesa, Calif., USA Basketball Monday named the final 12-member USA Women's U20 National Team roster that will compete in the 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship for Women Aug. 8-12 in Mexico City, Mexico. The roster includes California sophomore Devanei Hampton (Oakland, Calif.) and USA Basketball veterans and 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship gold medal winners Jolene Anderson (Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.); Essence Carson (Rutgers / Paterson, N.J.); Erlana Larkins (North Carolina / Riviera Beach, Fla.); and Courtney Paris (Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.).
In addition to Hampton, Cal head coach Joanne Boyle will represent the United States as an assistant coach for the U20 National Team. Golden Bear sophomores Alexis Gray-Lawson and Ashley Walker were among the 18 players to make the initial cut to represent the United States. Gray-Lawson withdrew herself from consideration due to a minor knee injury sustained about a week ago, while Walker wasn't named to the final team after last weekend's camp.
As a freshman in 2005-06, Hampton led Cal and ranked seventh in the Pac-10 in scoring at 15.4 ppg, becoming only the 10th freshman to ever earn first-team All-Pac-10 recognition. The Pac-10 All-Freshman pick paced the Bears and ranked third in the conference in rebounding at 7.9 rpg and topped the Pac-10 in offensive rebounding at 2.89 rpg. The 6-3 center led all Pac-10 rookies in scoring and rebounding last season and holds the distinction of being only the third freshman to ever lead Cal in scoring.
In addition, the official USA U20 roster includes DeWanna Bonner (Auburn / Fairfield, Ala.); Victoria Lucas-Perry (Michigan State / Flint, Mich.); Renee Montgomery (Connecticut / St. Albans, W.Va.); Marscilla Packer (Ohio State / Pickerington, Ohio); Kia Vaughn (Rutgers / Bronx, N.Y.); Erica White (Louisiana State / Jacksonville, Fla.); and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton (Purdue / Naperville, Ill.). The team was selected by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president of Division I women's basketball.
"This is a high-energy group that is extremely coachable and willing to work very hard," said Joanne P. McCallie, Michigan State and USA U20 National Team head coach. "I feel we had an excellent training camp. The training here in California was an on another level from the trials in Colorado Springs. I think that these 12 young ladies really rose to that level of competition, and I know I speak for my staff that we're really excited to work with them.
"I think we have a nice mix of veterans and age groups and people who are also new at this. Erlana Larkins and Erica White will be serving as captains, and I also feel that many of the other players have solid leadership qualities to bring to the table too. I think that's what helps perpetuate the chemistry this team has."
McCallie will be assisted by Boyle and Furman University's (S.C.) Sam Dixon. The USA U20 National Team will train through Aug. 5 in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Departing for Mexico City on Aug. 6, the squad is currently practicing twice daily at the University of California, Irvine's Crawford Court through Aug. 2, and on Aug. 3 and 4, the team will practice at Crawford Court in the morning and at Concord University's CU Arena in the evening. The sites for the Aug. 5 morning and evening sessions are to be determined.
The USA Women will open FIBA Americas preliminary round play at 4 p.m. (local time, CDT) on Aug. 8 versus Jamaica. The USA looks to defend its title at the 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship, and the top three finishing teams at the tournament earn qualifying berths for the 2007 FIBA U21 Women's World Championship that will be held July 27-Aug. 5 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Among the 12 players who secured a final roster spot are 11 with previous USA Basketball experience. Anderson, Carson, Larkins and Paris aided the U.S. squad to a dominating gold medal performance at the FIBA U19 World Championship and also helped the American women to the gold medal at the 2005 International Sports Invitational against top junior national teams from Australia, Russia and China.
The previous summer Carson, Larkins and Paris were members of the USA U18 National Team that earned the United States' berth in the U19 Worlds after claiming the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Additionally, Carson, Hampton, Lucas-Perry, Montgomery, Packer, Paris, Vaughn, White and Wisdom-Hylton have all competed in a USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.