FIBA Americas today (Apr 14, 2016) in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, conducted the draw for the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, and the USA was placed in preliminary round Group A with Brazil, Guatemala and Venezuela. Group B features Canada, host Chile, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women will be played July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile. Not only is a gold medal at stake, the top four finishing teams will earn a qualifying berth in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team will be led by a trio of former USA Basketball players and current successful collegiate head coaches in Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh) as the USA head coach and Kamie Ethridge (Northern Colorado) and Charlotte Smith (Elon) as assistant coaches.
“Having been a part of USA Basketball in the past, I know that traditionally Brazil is always strong,” said McConnell-Serio. “It’ll be a tough pool, but I’m excited about it. But, you have to beat the best to be the best, so it really doesn’t matter who we’re drawn with. It’ll be an exciting challenge and we expect it to be great competition. I’m excited to go to Valdivia, I’ve heard it’s beautiful, and we’re all really excited to be able to compete there.”
After playing each of the teams in its preliminary round group, the top two finishing teams from each group advance to the semifinals on July 16, while the bottom two teams from each group will play out for fifth-eighth places. On July 17, the semifinal winners will meet in the gold medal game, and the semifinal losers will play in the bronze medal game.
Trials to select the 12-member USA roster will take place May 27-31 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).
The United States and Canada earned automatic berths into the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship from North America. Also earning a place in the tournament were the top three finishing teams from the 2015 South American U17 Championship, including Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Additionally, Guatemala, Mexico and Puerto Rico earned the three berths available from the 2015 Centrobasket U17 Championship.
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event was held every four years from 1998-2004. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2004 championship and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.
USA women’s teams boast of a remarkable 48-2 overall record in U18 / Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996.
Brazil is the only other nation to have captured gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, winning in 1992 and 1996, while also earning three silver medals (1988, 2010, 2012) and two bronze medals (2000, 2008). Canada also owns three silver medals (2006, 2008, 2014) and two bronze medals (2004, 2010); Cuba has earned one silver (2000) and two bronze medals (1988, 1992); Puerto Rico finished with the silver medal in 2004; while Argentina has four times claimed bronze (1996, 2006, 2012, 2014).
U18 National Team players of note include: Tamika Catchings (1996); Marissa Coleman (2004); Napheesa Collier (2014); Skylar Diggins (2008); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Chiney Ogwumike (2010); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Breanna Stewart (2012); Diana Taurasi (2000); Morgan Tuck (2012); Brianna Turner (2014); Candice Wiggins (2004); and A’ja Wilson (2014).