May 7, 2007
Berkeley - California point guard Natasha Vital has been invited to USA Basketball's U19 tryouts, the organization announced on Monday. She will compete for a spot on the 2007 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team at the 2007 USA Basketball Junior National Teams Trials, which will be held May 17-20 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The invitations were issued 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. Vital was a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection in 2006-07 after starting 23 games and leading the Golden Bears with 114 assists.
"This is a great opportunity for Tasha," Cal head coach Joanne Boyle said. "It also says a lot about our team. Because they have taken this program to this level, our players are being recognized for their hard work and their level of talent. Cal players are being rewarded with the opportunity to do more on a national level. They deserve to play with and against the best ion the world."
USA Basketball will conduct the 2007 Women's Junior National and National Team Trials in order to select finalists for three USA Basketball squads-the U19 World Championship Team, U21 World Championship Team and Pan American Games Team. Trials for all three teams will take place at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
While hopefuls for the U21 World Championship and Pan American Games National Teams will conduct trials together, trials for the U19 World Championship Team are expected to take place independently. Finalists for the three squads will be named following trials, with official 12-member rosters determined prior to their respective competitions.
"Our expectations in the USA are to win gold, and to embrace the process of hard work, ultra competitiveness and total team play necessary to achieve that goal," said USA U19 World Championship Team and DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno. "From this pool of 37 players invited to trials, we definitely have the talent to achieve that goal.
"I'm very excited to see how the players that won gold last year have improved. Now that they have experienced a year of USA Basketball competition, I'm looking forward to observing their dedication to the USA program. And I'm unbelievably excited to see so many new additions, many of whom have had a year of college seasoning."
One of only 12 Cal freshmen to be named to the All-Freshman team, Vital averaged over 39 minutes at the point guard position in league games after stepping in for last year's Freshman of the Year, Alexis Gray-Lawson, who went down with a torn ACL Dec. 10. In conference games only, Vital is second in the league in assists (5.44) and first in minutes played (39.39 mpg). As a starter over the final 20 contests, Vital averaged 8.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists. The Stockton, Calif., native recorded double-doubles against USC (15 points, 10 assists) and UCLA (18 points, 10 assists) to help the Bears close out the regular season on a three-game winning streak. The 10 assists established a career best.
This past season, the Bears posted a 23-9 overall record, which was one win shy of matching the 1983-84 Bears (24-8) for the most wins in school history. Before the latest campaign, Cal hadn't posted at least 20 wins in 15 seasons.
Also in 2006-07, Cal matched the 1991-92 Bears for the program's best Pac-10 record (12-6) while ranking third for the best Pac-10 finish in school history. Cal earned a national ranking almost every week, including a school-record No. 15 ranking by the Associated Press for two weeks.
The Golden Bears gained further attention when they upset No. 8 Stanford, 72-57, on the road Feb. 4. The victory snapped the Cardinal's 17-game winning streak and 50-game home Pac-10 winning streak and marked the highest ranked win in head coach Joanne Boyle's five-year history as a head coach.
Further information on the U19 tryouts and other USA Basketball events is available by visiting www.USABasketball.com.