COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - After three days of trials at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 12-member roster was announced for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team. Incoming Baylor freshman Lauren Cox was one of the 12 named to the squad.
Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas), a 6-4 forward, will be competing for her fourth gold medal as a member of a USA Basketball Team. She won gold medals at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, the 2014 USA Women’s U17 World Championship and as a member of the 2013 USA Women’s U16 National Team.
The team members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp July 2-8 before departing for Chile on July 9.
The USA will look to defend its 2014 U18 gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).
Joining Cox on the team are: Jeannie Boehm (New Trier H.S./Winnetka, Ill.); Rellah Boothe (IMG Academy/Ocala, Fla.); Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Mansfield, Texas); Sidney Cooks (Saint Joseph H.S./Kenosha, Wis.); Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Tyasha Harris (Heritage Christian School/Noblesville, Ind.); Ruthy Hebard (West Valley H.S./Fairbanks, Alaska); Valerie Higgins (Chaminade College Prep/Granada Hills, Calif.); Amber Ramirez (Karen Wagner H.S./San Antonio, Texas); Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.); and Evina Westbrook (South Salem H.S./Salem, Ore.).
“It is a very versatile, interchangeable team,” said Jim Foster (Tennessee-Chattanooga), chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, which is responsible for selecting the team members. “They can play a big lineup. They could go to a small lineup. We have a nice combination of athletic basketball players and shooters. I think they will be a good defensive basketball team with a lot of opportunities for different looks. I think it will be a fun team to coach.
“The committee did a great job,” said USA head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh). “When you look at the players that we have been given to compete for a gold medal, I’m excited about the wealth of talent that we have. As far as when we go to compete, having players fulfill roles of being good point guards, shooters, play-makers, post players, some versatility, rebounding and defense. You look at the energy that this group brings, the excitement, and I’m really looking forward to working with them and preparing for Chile.”
Rounding out a coaching staff are Kamie Ethridge (Northern Colorado) and Charlotte Smith (Elon) as assistant coaches.
Six players have signed a National Letter of Intent, including Cox (Baylor); Dangerfield (Connecticut); Harris (South Carolina); Hebard (Oregon); Higgins (Southern California); and Ramirez (TCU); while Boehm verbally committed to Harvard.
In addition to Foster, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb, Lindsay Gotlieb and Joi Williams, as well as athlete representative Kara Lawson Barling, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.