Following three days of training camp in Washington, D.C., USA Basketball today announced the official, 12-member 2007 USA Women’s Pan American Games roster, including University of Tennessee Lady Vol rising seniors 6-4 forward/center Nicky Anosike (Staten Island, N.Y.) and 5-11 guard Alexis Hornbuckle (Charleston, W.Va.). The 2007 USA Pan Am squad was selected from a pool of 15 finalists by the USA Basketball Women’s Collegiate Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA’s vice president of Division I women’s basketball.
Also named to the squad was Candice Wiggins (Stanford / San Diego, Calif.), who just yesterday helped the 2007 USA Women’s U21 World Championship Team capture gold at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship in Moscow, Russia. In addition to Wiggins, named to the 2007 USA Basketball Women’s Pan American Games Team were: Matee Ajavon (Rutgers / Newark, N.J.); Jayne Appel (Stanford / Pleasant Hill, Calif.); Marissa Coleman (Maryland / Cheltenham, Md.); Emily Fox (Minnesota / Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Chardé Houston (Connecticut / San Diego, Calif.); Tasha Humphrey (Georgia / Gainesville, Ga.); Erlana Larkins (North Carolina / Riviera Beach, Fla.); Angel McCoughtry (Louisville / Baltimore, Md.) and Mel Thomas (Connecticut / Cincinnati, Ohio).
Under the direction of three-time Olympian and Temple University head coach Dawn Staley, the USA Women’s Pan American Games Team will battle seven other national teams from July 20-24 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I think the committee selected a group that is very versatile and athletic," Staley said. "We are a very balanced basketball team that can play at a variety of speeds depending on what we need at any given time. Coming in to camp I thought we’d need a lot of time before they gelled, but this group covers a lot of ground very quickly, especially defensively. Offensively they need to work to get to know each other’s tendencies, to define roles and figure out what each players does best.
"This team is very confident. I don’t think they foresee losing, but this isn’t a cake walk. Each team that we play, it’s going to be like the gold medal game. And any team I’m associated with, it’s gold or failure. I have huge expectations for this team and for this group as individuals as well."
Staley is being assisted by Kathy Delaney-Smith of Harvard University (Mass.) and Bill Gibbons of College of the Holy Cross (Mass.).
The roster features an impressive 10 athletes who have previously competed for USA Basketball. Wiggins, who today returns from Europe to join the team, averaged a team second-best 13.1 ppg. while helping the USA U21 squad tally a perfect 8-0 record to claim the gold medal. Appel, who also is a finalist for the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team, won gold with the USA U18 National Team at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Larkins was a member of the 2006 USA U20 National Team that captured gold in Mexico City, Mexico, at the FIBA Americas U20 Championship.
In 2005, Anosike, Coleman, Larkins and Wiggins captured the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship, and, prior to the U19 Worlds, won the 2005 International Sports Invitational gold medal. Four team members, Coleman, Houston, Larkins and Wiggins, collected gold medals at the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship; and seven have competed in the USA Basketball Women’s Youth Development Festival. Coleman got her start in a USA Basketball uniform at the 2004 Festival; while Ajavon, Hornbuckle, Houston, Humphrey, Thomas and Wiggins all competed in the Festival in 2003.
The USA Pan Am squad will continue training in Washington, D.C, through July 16. On July 10 and 11, the team will practice at 10:00 a.m. at the WNBA’s Washington Mystics Practice Facility at the Verizon Center and at 5:00 p.m. at American University’s Bender Arena. The team will continue to train at AU the next four days, including a practice at 4:00 p.m. on the 12th, and at 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on both July 13, 14. The squad practices at AU at 9:00 a.m. July 15 and closes camp at the Mystics facility July 16 with a 10:00 a.m. session before departing for Brazil later that day.
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information