2017 USA U19 World Cup Team announced

Following four days of trials featuring 32 athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team, highlighted by seven returning USA Basketball gold medalists, was announced Sunday morning. The team was selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee. Six-time defending FIBA U19 World Cup for Women gold medalists, the United States will look to make it seven gold medals in a row at the July 22-30 event in Cividale del Friuli and Udine, Italy.

The team will return to Colorado Springs July 7 to begin training camp before departing for Italy on July 15. The U.S. will then compete July 17-19 in a four-team exhibition tournament against host Italy, Latvia and Spain before tipping off 2017 U19 World Cup play July 22 against Mali.

The 2017 USA U19 World Cup Team

  • Bella Alarie (Princeton/Bethesda, Md.)
  • Jeannie Boehm (Harvard/Winnetka, Ill.)
  • Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Arlington, Texas)
  • Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut/Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
  • Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.)
  • Ruthy Hebard (Oregon/Fairbanks, Alaska)
  • Joyner Holmes (Texas/Cedar Hill, Texas)
  • Kayla Overbeck (Vanderbilt/Newbury Park, Calif.)
  • Reili Richardson (Arizona State/Brea, Calif.)
  • Alecia Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.)
  • Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.)
  • Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.)

Returning from the 2016 USA U18 National Team are Boehm, Carter, Harris, Hebard and Walker.

Head coach: Suzie McConnell-Serio (Pittsburgh)
Assistant coaches: Kamie Ethridge (Northern Colorado), Charlotte Smith (Elon)


Suzie McConnell-Serio (University of Pittsburgh)
What are your thoughts on your 12-member roster?
I’m really excited about the personnel that we have on this team as the journey begins to prepare to try and win a gold medal. Watching these players through the trials, there were so many great players here, and this is a special team. The committee put together a team we feel very confident in, in their skill-set, in the energy that they will bring in representing the United States and the pride they will have in doing so. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with these players.

Bella Alarie (Princeton/Bethesda, Md.)
What is your reaction to making your first USA Basketball team?
It’s surreal. I was so nervous sitting in that room waiting for the names to be called, but when I heard my name, my heart kind of dropped. I’m so excited. This is an incredible opportunity, and I’m so excited to represent this country. I think I played my heart out this weekend, and I’m glad that showed to the staff and committee.

What are your hopes and goals in meeting the others on this team and playing with them in two months?
Over the next month, I want to stay in shape and work on what I’m good at. I know I need to improve on my offense and defense. I’ll work on our plays back at home. I’m just so excited to spend a month with these girls. They are so much fun, and I can’t wait.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I’m definitely gaining a lot of basketball knowledge and a lot of friends. It makes you a better player to be playing against and with the best players in the world. I really am just so excited for this opportunity. It’s so cool.

Jeannie Boehm (Harvard/Winnetka, Ill.)
What does it feel like to make the U19 team after helping the U18 team win gold last summer to qualify for this competition?
It’s such an honor. I can’t even begin to describe the surreal feeling. I think, as a team, and me, personally, as an individual, we learned so much last year. But, the competition is only going to get tougher this year, and we have so much further to go. It’s going to be exciting.

What do you hope to provide in leadership and experience for this U19 team?
I’m definitely excited to grow as a leader for this team, having played on the U18 team, as well. Also, I think I can be a great teammate. That is such an important aspect to team chemistry.

Chennedy Carter (Timberview H.S./Arlington, Texas)
What was your initial reaction to hearing your name called for the team?
Honestly, I was a little bit nervous. Coach came in, and they were talking. I was kind of, in my head, praying for my name to be called. It got called and a tear came out. I was really surprised, but this is truly a blessing and an honor to be able to play for the USA U19 team.

As a younger member of this team, what do you hope to learn from the more experienced girls?
I feel like, just me being younger, the older and more experienced girls will be able to show me and guide me through the practice and training camp. I feel like we have a great group of girls and a great team. Just in trials, I jelled with a bunch of them that I got the opportunity to play with. I’m really looking forward to coming back July 7 to get playing with them.

What do you hope to learn from the other group of guards?
I’m hoping to learn from Crystal Dangerfield and Tyasha Harris. Crystal playing at UConn and her being one of the best point guards in the country, and me being close behind, I hope she can give me a lot of good advice so that one day, I can be up there and competing like her.

Crystal Dangerfield (Connecticut/Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
What was your initial reaction?
Just relief. Just understanding that these past few days were hard. I understand the committee coming back to us and telling us it was a hard decision for them. So, hearing my name was really just a relief and happiness.

What do you hope to bring to this team as an established leader with USA Basketball experience?
I just hope to lead them from experience. In 2015, it was hard. I remember our championship game – that was our toughest game. And the teams out there, like they said in the room, it’s tougher out there than it has been in previous tournaments. The World Cup games, you have to stay strong out there. Any game can go any way. I’m excited to get back out here in July, to jell quickly and go out there to win some games.

What are your thoughts on the team after playing and meeting the other girls at trials?
Just looking around after hearing the names were called, I think this team is going to jell really well. I think we have what it takes to be very competitive. I think we are going to have a lot of energy, and we’ll be able to get up and down to score a lot of points, and defend on top of that.

Tyasha Harris (South Carolina/Noblesville, Ind.)
While waiting to hear who had been selected for the USA Team, were you nervous?
Yeah, I was a little bit nervous, because I felt like everybody had a good day at least once out of the three or four days we here, and I think everyone showed what they can do. I think we equally played well, and I knew it was going to be hard decision for the committee.

What did you think overall of your trials?
I think I did pretty well. I kind of knew what they were looking for, because I made the team last year, so I kind of took what I did last year and added a little bit more stuff this year. I just tried to do the little things well, like talking on the floor, being vocal, being a leader and just trying to separate myself from other point guards.

With your U18 experience last year, you have a feel for things, what do you think it takes to win a gold medal?
Everyone buying into the system, just listening to the coach and playing as one, and playing for the name on the front of the jersey and not the name on the back of jersey. Just teamwork and sharing the ball and everyone going for the ultimate goal, which is the gold medal.

Ruthy Hebard (Oregon/Fairbanks, Alaska)
While waiting to hear who had been selected for the USA Team, were you nervous?
Yeah, I was nervous. There were a bunch of good post players that came and showed out this weekend, but I’m really glad that I got chosen.

What did you focus on during the trials?
I focused on rebounding a lot and just playing post defense. They emphasized that a lot, so I tried to three-quarter front and just be strong down low.

You were a member of the 2016 USA U18 National Team that won gold, how did that experience help you at these trials?
I think it made me pretty comfortable here. I knew, kind of, what the committee was looking for. I was comfortable in Colorado Springs, so that really helped with me just going out and playing my hardest.

What will you bring to the team?
A good personality I think. I’m a good teammate, and whatever they want me to do, I’m going to try to do my best at.

You’ve won a gold medal, so what do you think it takes for this team to come together and win a gold medal?
Just play hard, coming to practice every day ready to learn what coach Suzie (McConnell-Serio) wants us to do and play as a team.

Joyner Holmes (Texas/Cedar Hill, Texas)
While waiting to hear who had been selected for the USA Team, were you nervous?
A little bit. At the same time, it was just like a win-win situation – 50-50, I had a chance, or I didn’t have chance, so I’m just glad I made it. I enjoyed the process, and I’m going to go back to school and get some work in and come back and be ready to go.

What did you focus on during the trials?
Not necessarily just scoring, I think being more of a rebounder and just trying to pass the ball and get my teammates involved, and just setting good screens, because I know when I go back to school I’m going to have to implement all these things in my game for my sophomore year. So, just focusing on the basics and bettering my post defense.

You were a member of the 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team, so you know what playing internationally is like. What will it take to win a gold medal?
I think just playing as a team, no individual play. I think building team chemistry in the short period of time that we have and just taking it all in, because it only happens one in a lifetime. So, just taking it all in, enjoying the experience and playing as a team

Kayla Overbeck (Vanderbilt/Newbury Park, Calif.)
While waiting to hear who had been selected for the USA Team, how nervous were you?
I was nervous sitting in the chair, but at the end of the day I felt like I had played the best basketball I could to make the team. So, whether I made the team or not, I was happy with how I had performed. At the end of the day it wasn’t in my hands, but while sitting there I was really nervous. But, it feels good to prove to myself that I am the player that I think I am.

With this being your first USA Basketball experience, what did you try and focus on?
I wanted to focus on being a leader and communication, because I was talking to my coach and she was saying how communication, the hustle plays and rebounding are the first things that go. I might not be the tallest person, I might not be the most physical person, might not be the best, but at the end of the day if I can do the things I control, like communicating when I’m on the court, hustle plays and sprinting, I focused on that, because that’s what I can do. So, hopefully when I was playing, I hope they saw that too.

How exciting is it for you to have this opportunity?
It’s really exciting, because it is what I dreamed about when I was a kid. I dreamed about playing for the country I live in, was raised in. And, to be able to work and have a goal and to be able to reach it and keep setting goals higher and higher – it’s like a dream come true. But, you still have to get back to work and get better, because everyone is looking for us.

Reili Richardson (Arizona State/Brea, Calif.)
You’ve been to a USA Basketball trials before, but this is your first time making a USA Basketball team. How did it feel to hear your name called?
It was a relief. I’m really excited. I’ve been working hard, and from last year I learned a lot and just improved my game.

What does it mean to you to represent your country?
It means everything to have USA across my chest. I look forward to competing for gold.

How did you feel you played at trials?
I felt like I had played well – better than last year, so I had a good feeling and a positive mindset coming in.

Alecia Sutton (Texas/St. Louis, Mo.)
You’ve been to a USA Basketball trials before, but this is your first time making a USA Basketball team. How did it feel to hear your name called?
I can’t even describe the feeling. I’m just shocked. All that hard work paid off. I came to U16 trials and didn’t make it. Just to know that I made this team means a lot to me.

How did you feel you played at trials?
I thought I did pretty good. There were days that I was off, but I continued to pick up my team, continued to play defense, continued to keep my head up and come out and play the next day.

What were you trying to demonstrate as your strengths?
I tried to show the committee that I can be a vocal leader, I can play defense, on-ball defense, and I can make the right decisions as a point guard.

Megan Walker (Monacan H.S./Chesterfield, Va.)
What is your reaction to being named to the 2017 USA U19 World Cup Team?
It wasn’t shocking, but you are anxious when you are waiting to find out. The competition was tough. I’m excited, and I’m ready to represent my country.

What does it mean to you to represent your country?
It’s just a blessing –just to be able to wear “USA” and compete against the best teams in the world.

How did you feel you played at trials?
I felt like I did ok. I didn’t play great, but at the same time, I had a good showing.

What were you trying to demonstrate as your strengths?
Leadership, scoring ability and talking.

Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.)
What is your reaction to being named to the 2017 USA U19 World Cup Team?
It means the world, especially since my birthday was yesterday. This is a great birthday present. Considering I’m the youngest player here, it’s a huge honor to be selected to this team.

What were you trying to demonstrate as your strengths?
I tried to demonstrate that I was very coachable, a great teammate and I’m a scorer, because that’s my game. I think I was pretty consistent the whole trials.

The last time you played for USA Basketball you earned a bronze medal. What does it mean to you to represent your country again?
I have a second chance. That is great, because bronze hurt my heart. So, for us to go out and work to get gold, that will be great.

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