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A U.S. basketball U18 team that could include the likes of Chelsea Gray, Chiney Ogwumike and Odyssey Sims will have home-court advantage when it attempts to qualify for the FIBA U19 world championships this summer. The U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., will host the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 championship for women, June 23-27, USA Basketball and FIBA announced on Wednesday.
Trials for the USA U18 team will take place at the U.S. Olympic Training Center June 8-11. Trials for the team that will represent the U.S. at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Toulouse and Rodez, France, will be held during the same period, though in separate sessions. In the past, the United States occasionally has dipped into the younger pool for roster spots on older teams.
The 2010 FIBA Americas U18 championships will feature eight national teams, including the U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The top four finishing squads will earn qualifying berths for the 2011 FIBA U19 World championship, the site for which has yet to be determined. Only athletes 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible; for the U.S. that typically has meant top high-school seniors (class of 2010) and juniors (class of 2011).
This year will mark the second time USA Basketball has hosted the U18 Americas qualifying tournament in Colorado Springs. The 2006 event also was played at the U.S. Olympic Training Center with the U.S. taking gold and winning all four of its games by an average of 40.3 points.
"USA Basketball is excited to again take on the responsibility of hosting the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women. This is a great event that will feature many of the best young players from our zone," Jim Tooley, CEO/Executive Director of USA Basketball, said in a statement. "The fact that FIBA Americas has again awarded this tournament to USA Basketball demonstrates how successful the event was when we hosted it in 2006. I know we will stage a first-class event."
The U.S. has won gold in four straight U18 Americas tournaments, five of seven overall and has a 33-2 overall record in the event. Brazil, winning in 1992 and 1996, is the only other country to have claimed gold in a U18 Americas qualifying tournament. The U.S. has gone on to win gold in the past three straight U19 World Championships.
Held every other year, the Americas tournament format will divide the eight teams into two preliminary round groups consisting of four teams each. Preliminary round play will be held June 23-25, and each team will play the other three teams in its preliminary group. The top two teams in each preliminary round group will then advance to the Saturday, June 26, medal round semifinals and play for first-fourth places. Teams placed third and fourth in each preliminary round group will advance to the consolation semifinals and play for fifth-eighth places. The Americas gold and bronze medal games, and the fifth-sixth place and seventh-eighth place games, will be held Sunday, June 27.
Selection of the USA U18 team will be made by the USA Basketball women's junior national team committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe of the NCAA and also consists of Joanne Boyle (California head coach), Coquese Washington (Penn State head coach), Connie Yori (Nebraska head coach), and athlete representative Beth Cunningham (1999 USA Pan American Games team member).
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