January 18, 2012 - by
Team Of The Year

Jan. 18, 2012

The USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team, which Florida State women’s basketball coach Sue Semrau served as an assistant during its run to a gold medal last summer, has been named the 2011 USA Basketball Team of the Year.

Here’s the official announcement from USA Basketball:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In recognition of an impressive gold-medal performance at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship this past summer, USA Basketball today announced the USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team as the 2011 USA Basketball Team of the Year.

Topping opponents by an average of 16.6 points per game during the July 21-31 tournament in Puerto Montt, Chile, the U.S. finished 8-1 to capture the gold medal and stand atop the FIBA U19 World Championship podium for a fourth-straight time.

 “With limited opportunity to practice before the tournament, there is no guarantee that a national team will have time to come together and create enough chemistry to win at a world championship level,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U19 and University of Hartford head coach, as well as the 2011 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. “This young group was unique because everyone had USA Basketball experience, but they had played at different age groups the year before. They were impressive because they found a way to come together, find different roles and become a determined, competitive basketball team. I think we all were willing to learn a lot from each other and trust each other so that we could accomplish our ultimate goal of winning a gold medal.”

 The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting USA Basketball’s annual coach, player and team of the year awards.

“The U19 women’s team was a joy to watch, as well as a joy to be around off the court,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. “The team played exceptional basketball and rebounded quickly from a tough loss, which is difficult to do. They were excellent ambassadors during our time in Chile. The staff and players deserve this recognition, and USA Basketball is very proud of their performance this past summer.”

Two members of the five-person All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team were U.S. players, including Ariel Massengale (Tennessee/Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.), who dished out a U.S. competition record 4.3 assists per game, and Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.), who blocked 1.7 shots per game to list second in the USA U19 record book.

 “We had players that had competed in the 2009 U16 and 2010 U17 championships together, and then players that had played together on the U18 team last year, so it was a mixture,” Stewart said of the team’s composition. “We also had players that were going to be seniors in high school, like me, alongside players that were going to be college freshman and even sophomores. We put those differences aside, and we were all able to play well together. Even when we lost to Canada, we didn’t let that stop us from going after the gold medal.”

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Opening preliminary round play with an 85-63 win over Japan, the USA next downed Russia 76-53, followed by an 83-49 defeat of Argentina. In the second round, the USA downed China 80-77 and topped Italy 94-60 before falling to Canada 64-52. Rebounding with a 70-64 win over France in the quarterfinals, the USA beat Brazil 82-66 in the semifinals and Spain 69-46 in the gold medal game.

The USA built a +16.7 rebounding advantage, while the U.S. defense limited foes to just 60.2 ppg. and 33.2 percent shooting overall.

Among the 15 teams, the U.S. ranked first in eight of 15 major team statistical categories, including points averaged (76.8 ppg.); scoring margin (+16.6 ppg.); rebounding margin (+16.7 rpg.); field goal percentage (.430); assists (16.9 apg.); blocked shots (3.9 bpg.); offensive rebounds (17.1 rpg.); and defensive rebounds (33.8 rpg.).

The 2011 squad also set a USA women’s U19 single-game record by shooting 93.8 percent from the free throw line (15-16 FTs) against France.

Representing the United States at the FIBA U19 World Championship were: Jordan Adams (Mater Dei H.S./Irvine, Calif.); Cierra Burdick (Tennessee/Butler H.S./Matthews, N.C.); Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.); Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.); Bria Hartley (Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.); Alexis Jones (Irving MacArthur H.S./Irving, Texas); Massengale; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Connecticut/Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif.); Imani Stafford (Winward H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); Stewart; Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.); and Elizabeth Williams (Duke/Princess Anne H.S./ Virginia Beach, Va.).

Serving as assistant coaches were Sue Semrau of Florida State University and Joi Williams of the University of Central Florida. The same trio of coaches helped the USA earn its 2011 U19 World Championship berth with a 5-0 record and gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Prior to the 2011 tournament, the 15 finalists for the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team downed the Brazil U19 National Team 49-37 in an exhibition game on June 5 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, Fla. As part of the ESPN Rise Girls Showcase, the exhibition game culminated a week of training camp for 15 finalists.

This year’s announcement marks the 16th time USA Basketball has presented the Team of the Year Award, which first was earned in 1996 by the historic USA Women’s National Team/Olympic Team.

In 2010, USA Basketball recognized the USA Men’s and Women’s FIBA World Championship Teams following perfect records and gold medal performances in Turkey and Czech Republic, respectively.

The honor also was earned by the 2009 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team; the 2008 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Teams; the 2007 USA Men’s Senior National Team and USA Women’s National Team; the 2006 Men’s Senior National Team; the 2005 USA Women’s FIBA U19 World Championship Team; 2000 and 2004 USA Women’s Senior National/Olympic teams; the 2003 USA World Championship for Young Women Team; the 1998 and 2002 USA Women’s World Championship squads; the 2001 USA World Championship For Young Men Team; 1999 USA Men’s Tournament of the Americas Team; and the 1997 USA Women’s Junior World Championship Team. 

About USA Basketball

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.

Since 2008, USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions of the Olympics and the FIBA World Championships; FIBA women’s U19 world champions;  the men’s and women’s title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championships; and the men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world ranking categories, including combined, men’s, women’s, boys and girls.

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