March 17, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After leading the 2010 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team to a perfect 5-0 slate, the gold medal and berth in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, USA U18 head coach Jennifer Rizzotti of the University of Hartford will return to USA Basketball to head up the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team coaching staff, USA Basketball announced today. Rejoining Rizzotti on the USA Basketball sidelines as assistants for the USA U19 World Championship Team are Sue Semrau of Florida State University and Joi Williams of the University of Central Florida.
As the three-time defending U19 gold medalist, the U.S. will look to defend its title at the 2011 U19 Worlds, hosted by Chile from July 21-31 in Talcahuano, Puerto Monnt, Puerto Varas, Valdivia and Vina del Mar.
The coaching staff selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by NCAA vice president for Division I women’s basketball Sue Donohoe, and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.
“The committee felt the coaching staff did a tremendous job last summer in qualifying USA Basketball for the FIBA U19 World Championship,” said Donohoe. “Jen, Sue and Joi built their team into a cohesive unit in a short period of time. We feel these three coaches will be able to continue to build on last summer’s success and extend the USA’s streak of gold medals at the U19 World Championship.”
Rizzotti, the all-time winningest coach in Hartford history, is in her 12th season (1999-00 to present) as Hartford’s head coach. The Hawks finished America East Conference play tied for third in the league with an 11-5 slate and advanced to the NCAA Tournament after capturing the America East Tournament crown. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Hawks are 17-15, are on a five-game winning streak and have won 11 of their last 12 games.
“I’m very excited to be working alongside Joi and Sue once again for the U19 World Championship this summer,” said Rizzotti, who first served on a USA Basketball coaching staff as an assistant to the 2006 USA U18 squad that went 4-0 and captured the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medal. “Our staff had great chemistry and we had a wonderful experience with the group of kids we coached last year. I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing with our country’s best young players on the world stage.”
The all-time winningest coach in Florida State history with 257 victories, Semrau’s No. 15 Seminoles currently own a 23-7record, including an 11-3 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play and earned an at-large bid to the 2011 NCAA Tournament, her seventh straight NCAA appearance.
“It’s such a great honor to have the chance to work with USA Basketball once again,” Semrau said. “I really am looking forward to working with the coaches and student-athletes again this summer.”
Williams took over a program in 2007-08 that had posted a combined 15 victories in the two years prior to her arrival and in just four seasons, has turned UCF into a winning program. Williams in 2010-11 led UCF to a 19-10 overall record in the regular season, including 12-4 in conference play. Her squad closed out regular season play on an 8-0 run to finish second in the Conference USA standings. UCF then captured the C-USA Tournament title, extending its winning streak to 11-0, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
“I am extremely honored and excited about the opportunity to work with USA Basketball again this summer and reunite with Jen and Sue,” Williams said. “We have great chemistry and share the vision to win a gold medal at the U19 World Championship.”
The U19 Worlds will feature 16 national teams that qualified for the tournament through their FIBA Zones. Including host Chile, participating nations for this year’s U19 World Championship include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Taiwan and the United States.
USA Basketball will conduct trials for the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team May 22-25 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., with approximately 30 U.S. hopefuls participating. Only U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible. The USA U19 World Championship Team training camp will be held July 11-15 at the USOTC, before the team travels to Chile for its final preparations.