Three players who didn't make the U17 World Championship Team found redemption today when their number was called for the U18 National Team. Allisha Gray (Washington County HS), Kendall Cooper (St. Anthony H.S.) and Jannah Tucker (New Town H.S.) all survived an even stiffer group of competition to make the U18 National Team roster of 12.
"I wanted to cry, but then I smiled. My heart dropped. It was crazy", said Cooper about hearing her name called.
Gray, who averaged 30 points per game this season for Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia, had a similar reaction, "It felt great. Even though I got cut from the U17s, when I learned that I was going to try out for the U18s, I was like, ‘I’m leaving it all on the court.’ I guess the result was that I made the team."
Jannah Tucker, of Baltimore Maryland represented the USA on the 2011 U16 National Team, so it was extra special to make the higher level U18 team. "It was like a weight off of my shoulders, like I could just exhale. Especially since I didn’t hear my name for the U17 team, it was very relieving to hear it this time."
In addition to Tucker, four other players return from previous gold medal teams including Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North H.S.), Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S.), Imani Stafford (Windward School) and Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S.).
Stewart, the 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year, knows this is one of the highest honors, "It definitely is special. It will always be special because you are representing your country -- I love it."
Rounding out the squad are first timers Moriah Jefferson (Texas Home Educators Sports Associations), Alexis Prince (Edgewater H.S.), Lexie Brown (North Gwinnett H.S.), Michaela Mabrey (Manasquan H.S.) and Brittney Sykes (University H.S.).
Training camp for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will be held May 28-June 4 in Orlando, Fla., then at the USOTC August 4-12. The U18 Championship will be held in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, August 15-19.
2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Roster
|Lexie Brown||G||5-9||145||10/27/94||2013||North Gwinnett H.S. / #Maryland||Suwanee, GA|
|Kendall Cooper||C||6-3||190||08/19/95||2013||St. Anthony H.S.||Carson, CA|
|Bashaara Graves||F||6-2||185||03/17/94||2012||Clarksville H.S. / *Tennessee||Clarksville, TN|
|Allisha Gray||G||6-0||150||01/12/95||2013||Washington County H.S./#N.C.||Sandersville, GA|
|Moriah Jefferson||G||5-7||122||03/18/94||2012||Texas Home Educators Sports Assoc./*Conn.||Glenn Heights, TX|
|Michaela Mabrey||G||5-9||135||03/28/94||2012||Manasquan H.S. / *Notre Dame||Belmar, NJ|
|Alexis Prince||G/F||6-2||170||02/05/94||2012||Edgewater / *Baylor||Orlando, FL|
|Imani Stafford||F/C||6-7||185||10/11/94||2012||Winward School / *Texas||Los Angeles, CA|
|Breanna Stewart||F/C||6-3||170||08/27/94||2012||Cicero-North Syracuse H.S. / *Conn.||North Syracuse, NY|
|Brittney Sykes||G||5-9||145||02/07/94||2012||University H.S. / *Syracuse||Newark, NJ|
|Morgan Tuck||F||6-2||190||04/30/94||2012||Bolingbrook H.S. / *Connecticut||Bolingbrook, IL|
|Jannah Tucker||G||6-0||175||05/17/95||2013||New Town H.S.||Randallstown, MD|
|Head Coach: Katie Meier, University of Miami|
|Assistant Coach: Nikki Caldwell, Louisiana State University|
|Assistant Coach: Kelly Graves, Gonzaga University|
|Athletic Trainer: Anne Marquez, University of Notre Dame|
* Signed National Letter of Intent to attend and play for school indicated.
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