Ebony Hoffman Named To 12-Member USA World Championship Team

May 27, 2003

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USC senior women's basketball standout Ebony Hoffman will headline the 12-member 2003 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Team, announced last week. The USA Young Women's squad was selected by the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee, chaired by University of Texas Senior Associate Athletics Director for Men's and Women's Athletics Chris Plonsky.

The USA Young Women National Team will train July 7-24 in Colorado Springs, New York and Boston, before competing in the inaugural FIBA World Championship For Young Women in Sibenik, Croatia, July 25 - Aug. 3.

In addition to Hoffman, the 12-member USA World Championship For Young Team also includes Seimone Augustus (LSU / Baton Rouge, La.); Alana Beard (Duke / Shreveport, La.); Kristen Mann (UC Santa Barbara / Santa Ana, Calif.); Caity Matter (Ohio State / Bluffton, Ohio); Nicole Ohlde (Kansas State / Clay Center, Kan.); Shawntinice Polk (Arizona / Hanford, Calif.); Cappie Pondexter (Rutgers / Chicago, Ill.); Christi Thomas (Georgia / Buford, Ga.); Kendra Wecker (Kansas State / Marysville, Kan.); Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota / Hutchinson, Minn.) and Tanisha Wright (Penn State / West Mifflin, Pa.).

'It's a much bigger and stronger team in the post area than (the 2001 USA Junior World Championship Team) and I think that's important in a World Championship,' said USA and Ohio State University head coach Jim Foster. 'We've got some internationally experienced players, both on the perimeter and in the post, and I think that bodes well too. So that eases the burden of responsibility a little for the first-year players, knowing there's a frame of reference and they can talk to the people who have been there. Also, just the little blip that we did this morning in teaching one thing, how quickly they picked it up and how responsive they were, gives you an indication that this will be a good group to work with.'

The Committee also named six alternates who could be called upon to join the team in case of an injury before or during the USA's training camp. Those six alternates are: Amber Jacobs (Boston College / Clarks Summit, Pa.); Temeka Johnson (Louisiana State / Kenner, La.); Amber Obaze (Louisiana Tech / Dallas, Texas); Heather Schreiber (Texas / Windthorst, Texas); Stacy Stephens (Texas / Winnsboro, Texas) and Ruby Vaden (Arkansas / Osceola, Ark.).

Included among the U.S. 21-and-under team are five previous USA Basketball medalists, and three more who have participated in USA Basketball Trials. There are also 11 All-Americans, while all 12 players collected all-conference accolades following the 2002-03 season.Hoffman, Ohlde, Pondexter and Whalen teamed up last summer to capture a gold medal in Brazil and helped the United States qualify for the 2003 FIBA World Championship For Young Women. The previous summer at the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championship, Beard and Pondexter were members of the U.S. squad that posted a 6-1 record, fell to host Czech Republic in the semifinal contest, but rebounded to return with the Junior Worlds bronze medal. Competing on the first of three USA Basketball squads, Pondexter, along with Beard and Hoffman, collected the gold medal and a 5-0 record at the 2000 Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament in Mexico. Additionally, Augustus, Thomas and Wecker have all participated in at least one USA Basketball Trials.

Augustus was selected the 2003 National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and was named All-America second team by Basketball Times and All-America third team by A.P. Included on the USBWA All-America team were Wecker and Whalen; the A.P. named Whalen to its All-America second team, Wecker was an A.P. third team selection and Polk, Pondexter and Wright received All-America honorable mention by A.P.; Kodak/WBCA listed Whalen on its All-America first team, while earning honorable mention were Hoffman, Polk, Pondexter and Wecker; and Basketball Times' All-America second team included Whalen, while Wecker was named All-America third team and Matter, Pondexter, Thomas and Wright collected All-America honorable mention.

All 12 earned post-season conference accolades in their respective leagues this season, topped by Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Beard, conference Rookie of the Year recipients Augustus (SEC), Polk (Pac-10) and Pondexter (Big East), and Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year Wright. Further, named to their all-conference first team were Beard, Hoffman (Pac-10), Mann (Big West), Ohlde (Big 12), Polk, Pondexter, Wecker (Big 12) and Whalen (Big Ten); while Augustus, Matter, Thomas and Wright were named all-conference second team.

The U.S. squad will return to Colorado Springs on July 7, where it will train at the USOTC through July 11 (times TBD). The USA Young Women will then train at the New York Athletic Club (N.Y.) July 12-14 (times TBD), before traveling to Boston for the final stages of its FIBA World Championship For Young Women preparation.

While in Boston, the USA Young Women will be joined by the Australia and Brazil young women national teams, as well as the USA Pan American Games Team for a series of friendly games. The 'friendlies' get started on July 15 with the USA Young Women facing Brazil at 1:00 p.m. (all times EDT) at Northeastern University's Matthews Arena. The following afternoon will see the USA Young Women and Australia competing at 1:00 p.m. at Matthews Arena, and on July 17 Australia and Brazil are scheduled to compete at 1:00 p.m. at Matthews Arena, followed by a USA Young Women National Team practice session. With the arrival of the USA Pan Am Games Team on July 17, the two USA squads are slated to scrimmage on July 18 at 1:00 p.m. at the Reebok Campus (Canton, Mass.). July 19 - 20 will see a pair of double-headers beginning at 1:00 p.m. each day at Matthews Arena. On July 19 the USA Young Women will play Brazil in the first game, followed by the USA Pan Am squad versus Australia at approximately 3:00 p.m.; while the July 20 double-header will feature the USA Pan Am Games Team competing against Brazil, followed by the USA Young Women against Australia.

'I think you can talk and talk and talk about the different styles in international play,' said Foster. 'But those who haven't had the experience, it's a great opportunity to get it. Brazil and Australia have two distinct styles of play and that helps you get the attention of the players before we start playing in Croatia.'

Assisting Foster and the 2003 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Team are collegiate head coaches Kathy Delaney-Smith of Harvard University (Mass.) and Felisha Legette-Jack of Hofstra University (N.Y.).

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