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Pac-12 presence at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup in Hungary

Aug 6, 2021
USA Basketball

SAN FRANCISCO – Seven Pac-12 women’s basketball players will represent their countries at the FIBA U19 Women's World Cup, which will be played August 7-15 in Debrecen, Hungary.

Sophomores Te-Hina Paopao of OREGON and Lauren Ware of ARIZONA are on the United States roster, which is being led by UCLA head coach Cori Close. UTAH sophomore Kelsey Rees and WASHINGTON freshman Olivia Pollerd will play for Australia, the WASHINGTON STATE duo of sophomore Jessica Clarke and freshman Tara Wallack will take the floor for Canada, and ARIZONA freshman Gisela Sanchez will play for Spain.

The 14th edition of the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup features 16 teams divided into four groups. The United States and Australia are in Group A along with Italy and Egypt, Canada was drawn into Group D with the Czech Republic, Japan and Mali, and Spain is in Group C with France, Korea and Brazil.

Introduced in 1985, the United States has captured the trophy eight times in the previous 13 tournaments, including in Thailand in 2019 after a 74-70 victory over Australia. That game featured several current Pac-12 players in STANFORD’s Cameron Brink and Francesca Belibi for the U.S., and UCLA’s Izzy Anstey and STANFORD’s Agnes Emma-Nnopu for Australia.

Canada’s best finish is the bronze it earned in Italy in 2017. Australia’s lone U19 World Cup title came in Seoul in 1993.

One of only two freshmen voted to the 15-member All-Pac-12 team in 2021, Paopao averaged 10.2 points, 4.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game in her first season in Eugene. She started the first 19 games of the year before missing the final five due to injury and led the nation’s freshmen with a 2.40 assist-to-turnover ratio and was seventh in the country among first-year players in assists per game.

Ware was also a Pac-12 All-Freshman honorable mention selection in her debut season in Arizona after averaging 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.2 minutes. The Wildcats’ third consecutive 20-win campaign featured the program’s first trip to the Final Four.

After helping the United States to U19 World Cup gold as an assistant coach in 2019, UCLA’s Cori Close is serving as the team’s head coach in 2021, her fourth USA Basketball coaching assignment and third for an international event.

Rees played in 20 games as a freshman for the Utes, averaging 10.7 minutes, 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. In 2019, she led Australia to gold at the FIBA U17 Women's Oceania Championship. Rees earned a spot on the All-Star Five after averaging 13.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

Pollerd also starred for Australia during its run to that 2019 FIBA U17 Oceania gold, averaging a team-high 23.4 minutes and 13.2 points per game. Last February, she participated in the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp as part of NBA All-Star 2020.

Clarke played in 15 games as a freshman at Washington State in 2020-21 and scored a career-high 15 in her second collegiate game against No. 8 Oregon on Dec. 21. She was ranked as the No. 5 Canadian prospect in her class according to Crown Scout Girls.

Like Pollerd, Wallack will be a freshman in the Conference in 2021-22. She appeared in five games for Canada at the 2019 U16 FIBA Americas Championship and averaged 6.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 15.0 minutes to help her country take home silver.

Sanchez played for Segle XXI in Spain and averaged 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds during the 2020-21 season. She averaged 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds at the 2019 U16 European Championships and helped Spain take home bronze.