Aug. 14, 2012
GUARBO, Puerto Rico – The University of Connecticut freshmen trio of Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck and the rest of the 2012 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team tips-off competition on Aug. 15 in Guarbo, Puerto Rico, to begin its quest of competing for the USA's sixth-consecutive FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medal.
Fans will be able to catch all the action online as FIBAAmericas.com will provide live streaming and live online statistics for all four games each day.
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship, featuring teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, is a zone-qualifying tournament for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. The top four finishing teams will earn a berth to the 2013 U19 Worlds. The U.S. owns an overall 38-2 record and has claimed six gold medals and two silver medals in the eight previous FIBA Americas U18 Championships, which have been held since 1988. Originally dubbed the Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament and held every four years from 1988 through 2004, the tournament is now held every other year.
The USA has been placed in preliminary round Group A and will open against Dominican Republic on Aug. 15 at 1:30 p.m. (all times listed are EDT). The USA will play Argentina on Aug. 16 at 3:45 p.m. and then face Colombia on Aug. 17 at 3:45 p.m. to wrap up preliminary pool play. The top two teams from each preliminary round group will be seeded and advance to the medal semifinals on Aug. 18. Winners of the semifinals will compete in the gold medal game to be played on Aug. 19. Group B teams include Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
"As a staff we're very excited for the tournament to start and to watch the other teams tomorrow," said Katie Meier, USA U18 National Team and University of Miami head coach. "We're excited for our debut. We also want to get a look at the competition and get a real feel for the tournament. We've spent a lot of time together in training camp and we're ready for some outside competition."
The 2012 USA U18 National Team includes: Candice Agee (Silverado H.S./Victorville, Calif.); Lexie Brown (North Gwinnett H.S. / Suwanee, Ga.); Kendall Cooper (St. Anthony H.S. / Carson, Calif.); Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S. / Clarksville, Tenn.); Moriah Jefferson (Texas Home Educators Sports Association / Glenn Heights, Texas); Michaela Mabrey (Manasquan H.S. / Belmar, N.J.); Alexis Prince (Edgewater / Orlando, Fla.); Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.); Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./ Bolingbrook, Ill.); and Jannah Tucker (New Town H.S. / Randallstown, Md.).
The USA team will compete in Puerto Rico with 10 athletes after the withdrawal of Allisha Gray (Washington County H.S / Sandersville, Ga.), who injured her knee during the team's training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Aug. 7; and Brittney Sykes (University H.S. / Newark, N.J.), who returned home due to personal reasons.
Meier is assisted by collegiate head coaches Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University and Kelly Graves of Gonzaga University.
One week after the team was announced and returned home to their respective cities, the squad reconvened in Orlando, Fla., for five days of training that culminated with a 97-36 exhibition win over Brazil on May 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resorts.