Rising Freshman Casey Morris Invited to USA U18 National Team Tryouts

May 16, 2008

BERKELEY, Calif. - California incoming freshman Casey Morris is one of 35 of the nation's best 18-and-under players who have accepted invitations to attend the 2008 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team Trials June 9-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 35 athletes, born on or after Jan. 1, 1990, will compete for one of 12 roster spots on the 2008 USA Womens U18 National Team.

'The committee spent a lot of time in the development and evaluation of the pool of trials candidates, and we are confident that the roster will provide the committee the opportunity to select individuals who will be great representatives for USA Basketball and lead us to success during the competition in Argentina,' said Sue Donohoe, chair of the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee. 'Many of these athletes played in the Youth Development Festival in 2007, and all of them have a great deal of high-level experience and are tremendously talented. The committees challenge will be to determine the best combination of leadership, talent and skills in order to win a gold medal in Argentina.

Morris, a 5-9 point and shooting guard from Piedmont High School in Piedmont, Calif., is ranked No. 35 nationally by Blue Star Report and No. 51 by HoopGurlz.com. HoopGurlz has Morris as the No. 10-rated point guard.

Following trials, the Women's Collegiate Committee is expected to announce the 12-member USA U18 National Team roster plus alternates. The team members will return to Colorado Springs for a July 10-18 training camp before departing for the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, July 23-27 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In all, 27 of the 2008 trials participants played in the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival, including three who set all-time competition records. Buck set a Festival high for field goal percentage (.611 percent, 11-18 FGs), Oliver set the record for free throws made (27) and Speed established a new mark for assists (27).

Also returning from the 2007 Youth Development Festival are: Kelsey Bone (Dulles H.S. / Stafford, Texas); Sarah Boothe (Warren Township H.S. / Gurnee, Ill.); Alyssia Brewer (Sapulpa H.S. / Sapulpa, Okla.); Ashley Corral (Prairie H.S. / Vancouver, Wash.); Skylar Diggins (Washington H.S. / South Bend, Ind.); Jasmine Dixon (Long Beach Poly H.S. / Long Beach, Calif.); Ayana Dunning (Columbus Eastmoor H.S. / Columbus, Ohio); Kelly Faris (Heritage Christian / Plainfield, Ind.); Ashley Gayle (Bishop Gorman H.S. / Las Vegas, Nev.); Briana Gilbreath (Cinco Ranch H.S. / Katy, Texas); Amber Gray (Lakota West H.S. / Cincinnati, Ohio); Emilee Harmon (Pickerington Central H.S. / Pickerington, Ohio); Tayler Hill (South H.S. / Minneapolis, Minn.); Lynetta Kizer (Potomac H.S. / Woodbridge, Va.); Alicia Manning (Etowah H.S. / Woodstock, Ga.); Casey Morris (Piedmont H.S. / Fairfield, Calif.); Nneka Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S. / Cypress, Texas); Samantha Prahalis (Commack H.S. / Dix Hills, N.Y.); Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (T.C. Williams H.S. / Alexandria, Va.); Shay Selby (Regina H.S. / Geneva, Ohio); Chay Shegog (Brooke Point H.S. / Stafford, Va.); DeNesha Stallworth (Pinole Valley H.S. / Pinole, Calif.); SheKinna Stricklen (Morrilton H.S. / Morrilton, Ark.); and Taylor Turnbow (Stephenson H.S. / Stone Mountain, Ga.).

Rounding out the trials roster are USA Basketball newcomers: Yvonne Anderson (Columbia Hickman H.S. / Columbia, Mo.); Shenise Johnson (Rush-Henrietta H.S. / Henrietta, N.Y.); Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S. / Cypress, Texas); Cokie Reed (Midway H.S. / Waco, Texas); Shenneika Smith (St. Michael Academy / Brooklyn, N.Y.); April Sykes (East Oktibbeha County H.S. / Crawford, Miss.); Joslyn Tinkle (Big Sky H.S. / Missoula, Mont.); and Markel Walker (Schenley H.S. / Philadelphia, Pa.).

Northern Illinois University's Carol Owens has been tabbed head coach, with Joe McKeown of George Washington University (D.C.) and Terri Mitchell of Marquette University (Wis.) serving as assistants.

All 22 of the rising college freshman have committed to major Division I programs, including 13 schools in six conferences. The Southeastern Conference leads the way with Brewer, Gray, Manning and Stricklen headed to the University of Tennessee and Dunning and Turnbow committed to play at Louisiana State University. In the Pacific-10 Conference, Booth and Nneka Ogwumike will play for Stanford University, Corral and Gilbreath are headed to the University of Southern California and Morris committed to the University of California. The Atlantic Coast Conference will feature Selby at Duke University, Shegog at the University of North Carolina, Kizer at the University of Maryland and Johnson at the University of Miami Playing in the Big East will be Buck at the University of Connecticut and Dixon, Speed and Sykes at Rutgers University. Anderson and Gayle have signed with the University of Texas and will play in the Big 12 Conference; while Prahalis, who is headed to Ohio State University, is the lone Big Ten Conference recruit.

The invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, which in addition to Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president of Division I women's basketball, includes: athlete representatives Beth Cunningham (Virginia Commonwealth University), a member of the 1999 USA Pan American Games Team, and 1996 Olympic gold medalist Carla McGhee; NCAA appointees include Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma), Jim Foster (Ohio State University), Trina Patterson (University at Albany) and Tara VanDerveer (Stanford University); Mary 'Roonie' Scovel (Gulf Coast Community College) represents the NJCAA; and Wendy Larry (Old Dominion University) was appointed to the committee by the WBCA.

2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean from July 23-27 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The top four finishing teams qualify for the 2009 FIBA U19 Women's World Championship, which will be held July 23-Aug. 2 in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the preliminary round, the eight participating teams will be divided into two groups of four teams each. After playing the three other teams in the preliminary round, the top two finishing teams from each group will advance to the medal round semifinals, while the third and fourth place finishing teams will meet in the consolation round semifinals. The gold medal, bronze medal, 5th/6th place and 7th/8th place games will be played on July 27.

Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event had been held every four years since 1988. FIBA changed its calendar, however, and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.

USA women's teams boast of a remarkable 28-2 overall record in U18/Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004 and 2006, while capturing silver in 1992 and 1996.

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