Ebony Hoffman Invited To USA Basketball 20-and-Under National Team Trial

May 11, 2002

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Three members of the gold medal winning 2000 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Team, including USC women's basketball junior-to-be forward Ebony Hoffman, and five members of the bronze medal-winning 2001 USA Basketball Women's Junior World Championship Team are among 35 of the country's top 20-and-under players who have accepted invitations to try out for the 2002 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Team, USA Basketball announced Tuesday (May 7).

On May 20 following the three-day Trials, which will be held May 17-19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., the Committee will announce finalists for the U.S. squad.

The eventual 12-member U.S. team, which will be comprised of U.S. citizens 20-years-old or younger (born on or after January 1, 1982), will compete in the Confederation of Pan American Basketball Associations (COPABA) World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Tournament. Hosted by Brazil in Ribeirao Preto July 17-21 and featuring eight teams from North, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean, the top three nations will qualify for the inaugural International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championship For Young Women which is scheduled to be played in Dubrovnik, Croatia in July 2003 (dates TBD).

Included among the invitees are: Jacqueline Batteast (Notre Dame / South Bend, Ind.); Tera Bjorklund (Colorado / St. Peter, Minn.); Betsy Boardman (Arizona State / Portland, Ore.); Teresa Borton (Notre Dame / Yakima, Wash.); Kala Bowers (Texas / Woodward, Okla.); Kara Brown-Braxton (Georgia / Jackson, Mich.); Shameka Christon (Arkansas / Hot Springs, Ark.); Ebony Felder (Georgia / Jackson, Miss.); Cisti Greenwalt (Texas Tech / Clovis, N.M.); Vanessa Hayden (Florida / Orlando, Fla.); SeSe Helm (Kentucky / Bowling Green, Ky.); Doneeka Hodges (Louisiana State / New Orleans, La.); Ebony Hoffman (Southern California / Harbor City, Calif.); Sandora Irvin (Texas Christian / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); Dionnah Jackson (Oklahoma / St. Louis, Mo.); Amber Jacobs (Boston College / Clarks Summit, Pa.); Temeka Johnson (Louisiana State / New Orleans, La.); Laurie Koehn (Kansas State / Hesston, Kan.); Kelly Mazzante (Penn State / Montoursville, Pa.); Julie McBride (Syracuse / Mechanicville, N.Y.); Janel McCarville (Minnesota / Stevens Point, Wis.); Kristen O'Neill (Washington / Lynwood, Wash.); Amber Obaze (Louisiana Tech / Dallas, Texas ); Ugo Oha (George Washington / Houston, Texas ); Nicole Ohlde (Kansas State / Clay Center, Kan.); Jia Perkins (Texas Tech / Granbury, Texas ); Cappie Pondexter (Rutgers / Chicago, Ill.); Heather Schreiber (Texas / Windthorst, Texas ); Stacy Stephens (Texas / Winnsboro, Texas ); University of Connecticut freshman-to-be Ann Strother (Highlands Ranch H.S. / Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Kelley Suminski (Stanford / Chester, N.J.); Brandi Teamer (Virginia / Joliet, Ill.); Christi Thomas (Georgia / Buford, Ga.); Tanesheia Thompson (Gulf Coast Community College / Roanoke, Ala.); Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota / Hutchinson, Minn.) and Dee-Dee Wheeler (Arizona / Chicago, Ill.).

Amont them, there are 34 NCAA Division I players, including 20 rising juniors and 14 rising sophomores, one NJCAA athlete and one who has recently completed her prep career; 19 previous USA Basketball participants; six 2002 All-Americans; six 2002 conference Freshman of the Year honorees; one 2002 conference Player of the Year and a total of 25 who were listed among their 2002 all-conference or all-freshmen teams.

Returning to USA Basketball after helping the U.S. capture a bronze medal at the 2001 FIBA Junior World Championship are Bjorklund, Christon, Pondexter, Stephens and Strother; while Hoffman, Koehn and Pondexter were members of the gold medal winning 2000 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Team. In all, 19 athletes have had USA Basketball experience. Boardman (2001), Borton (2001), Bowers (2000), Brown-Braxton (2000), Hayden (2000, 2001), Hodges (2000), Irvin (2001), Jacobs (2001), Mazzante (2000, 2001), Obaze (2000, 2001) and Oha (2001) have participated in at least one USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Trials and Felder was among the trials invitees for the 1998 USA World Youth Games Team.

Whalen, the 2002 Big Ten Conference Player of the Year, is one of 21 trials participants who earned all-conference honors. Seven listed among their all-conference first teams, including Brown-Braxton (Southeastern), Hayden (Southeastern), Hoffman (Pacific 10), Mazzante (Big Ten), Oha (Atlantic 10), Ohlde (Big 12) and Whalen. Ten of the invitees were named all-conference second team, including Batteast (Big East), Christon (Southeastern), Helm (Southeastern), Hodges (Southeastern), McCarville (Big Ten), Obaze (Western Athletic), Perkins (Big 12), Stephens (Big 12), Teamer (Atlantic Coast) and Thomas (Southeastern); while Irvin (Conference USA), Koehn (Big 12) and McBride (Big East) were named to their respective all-conference third team and Schreiber was a 2002 All-Big 12 honorable mention.

Texas Tech University head coach Marsha Sharp will direct the 2002 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Qualifying Team. Her assistants are collegiate head coaches Nikita Lowry of New Mexico State University and Lisa Stone of Drake University (Iowa).

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