Release courtesy of USA Basketball 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Featuring four two-time USA Basketball gold medalists in Jayne Appel (Stanford / Kansas City, Mo.), Jantel Lavender (Ohio State / Cleveland, Ohio), Maya Moore (Connecticut / Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Kayla Pedersen (Stanford / Fountain Hills, Ariz.), the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games Team Trials roster includes 29 of the nation’s best college athletes who will contend for one of 12 roster spots on the 2009 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team. The trials invitations were extended by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee.

“We are looking forward to a few great days of trials competition for the World University Games team,” said Sue Donohoe, chair of the Women’s Junior National Team Committee and NCAA Vice President for Division I Women’s Basketball. “These young players are extremely talented, and there will be a very high level of competition for the opportunity to be selected to represent the United States in the World University Games. The committee is anxious to begin the evaluation process and anticipates a great team trial.”

Trials to select finalists for the 2009 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team will be held May 14-17 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The selected finalists will return to Colorado Springs on June 18 for training camp, and the team is expected to depart for Serbia on June 25. The 12-member roster will be announced prior to the team’s departure.

The World University Games is organized by the International University Sports Federation and held every other year. The 2009 women’s basketball competition will take place July 1-11 in Belgrade, Serbia. Eligible athletes for the USA team must be currently enrolled in a college or university and have remaining NCAA athletic eligibility.

In addition to Appel, Lavender, Moore and Pedersen, the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games Team Trials Roster features: Danielle Adams (Jefferson College / Kansas City, Mo.); Jessica Breland (North Carolina / Kelford, N.C.); Doreena Campbell (UCLA / Alexandria, Va.); Tina Charles (Connecticut / Jamaica, N.Y.); Alysha Clark (Middle Tennessee State / Mt. Juliet, Tenn.); Cetera DeGraffenreid (North Carolina / Cullowhee, N.C.); Dawn Evans (James Madison / Clarksville, Tenn.); Tyra Grant (Penn State / Youngstown, Ohio); Alexis Gray-Lawson (California / Oakland, Calif.); Whitney Hand (Oklahoma / Fort Worth, Texas); Tiffany Hayes (Connecticut / Lakeland, Fla.); Allison Hightower (LSU / Arlington, Texas); Ashley Houts (Georgia / Trenton, Ga.); Ify Ibekwe (Arizona / Carson, Calif.); Amy Jaeschke (Northwestern / Wilmette, Ill.); Danielle McCray (Kansas / Olathe, Kan.); Jacinta Monroe (Florida State / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); Ta’Shia Phillips (Xavier / Indianapolis, Ind.); Jeanette Pohlen (Stanford / Brea, Calif.); Epiphanny Prince (Rutgers / Brooklyn, N.Y.); Alex Rack (Mississippi State / Franklin, La.); Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma / San Jose, Calif.); Carolyn Swords (Boston College / Sudbury, Mass.); Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga / Kent, Wash.); Natasha Vital (California / Stockton, Calif.).

After assisting the USA women to a gold medal at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship, Arizona State”s Charli Turner Thorne returns to the USA sideline as head coach of the 2009 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team, with Suzy Merchant of Michigan State University and Julie Rousseau of Pepperdine University serving as assistant coaches.

“Having previously coached against most of the players who have been selected and being very familiar with the tremendous accomplishments of the others, I can say without hesitation the committee did an excellent job of pulling together a collection of the best players in the country,” Turner Thorne said. “I am very excited, as are Suzy (Merchant) and Julie (Rousseau), to coach this assemblage of elite young ladies. Colorado Springs is an important first step because it is there where we will create the foundation with which we will pursue our ultimate goal of winning a gold medal in Serbia.”

In addition to Donohoe, the 2009-2012 Women’s Junior National Team Committee, formerly known as the Women’s Collegiate Committee, includes NCAA appointees Joanne Boyle (head coach, University of California), Coquese Washington (head coach, Penn State University) and Connie Yori (head coach, University of Nebraska); and athlete representative Beth Cunningham (head coach, Virginia Commonwealth University), a member of the 1999 USA Pan American Games Team.

2009 USA Women’s World University Games Team Trials Invitees
The trials roster features two athletes, Hand and Hayes, who completed their freshman years of college this past season, 15 who finished their sophomore campaigns and 12 athletes who were juniors in terms of NCAA eligibility in 2008-09.

Just five schools are sending multiple representatives to trials, including NCAA champion Connecticut with Charles, Hayes and Moore; Stanford with Appel, Pedersen and Pohlen; California with Gray-Lawson and Vital; North Carolina with Breland and DeGraffenreid; and Oklahoma with Hand and Robinson.

Seven USA Basketball gold medalists return for the 2009 trials, including four with multiple gold medal finishes. Overall 16 of the 29 invitees have either played on a USA team or participated in a national team trials.

In the summer of 2007, Houts was the lone rising sophomore on the USA U21 National Team that wrapped up an 8-0 record at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship, averaging 4.1 ppg. to help the USA to a gold medal.

Jaeschke, Lavender, Moore and Pedersen led the USA to a 9-0 record and gold medal at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a 3-0 exhibition tally in the Canary Islands prior to the world championship. Moore averaged a team-leading 16.3 ppg. along with 6.4 rpg. and 2.3 apg.; Lavender grabbed a team-high 8.1 rpg. to go with her 16.0 ppg.; Pedersen averaged 2.8 ppg. and 3.2 rpg.; and Jaeschke added 2.5 ppg. and 2.1 rpg.

Also in 2007, Appel averaged 4.8 ppg. and 5.0 rpg. to help the USA tally a 5-0 record and capture the gold medal at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Hayes averaged a team-high 11.2 ppg., 3.8 rpg., and 3.0 spg. to help the USA White Team to a 5-0 record and gold medal at the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.

In 2006, Appel, Charles, Lavender, Moore and Pedersen played together on the gold medal winning USA U18 squad that wrapped up a 4-0 record at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Charles averaged a team-leading 12.0 ppg. along with 9.5 rpg; Moore tallied 9.5 ppg., 5.5 rpg., 2.3 apg. and 3.8 spg.; Appel added 7.0 ppg. and 9.0 rpg.; Pedersen contributed 6.3 ppg. and 7.0 rpg.; and Lavender averaged 5.8 ppg. and 6.3 rpg.
At the 2005 Youth Development Festival, Appel (6.0 ppg. and 7.4 rpg.) and Hightower (6.0 ppg. and 5.4 rpg.) played for the USA White Team, which recorded a 2-3 record and collected the silver medal; and Charles (21.0 ppg. and 13.4 rpg.) helped the USA Red Team to a 3-2 record and bronze medal.

In addition, the 2006 U18 National Team Trials featured Breland, Hightower, Jaeschke, Prince and Robinson; while Gray-Lawson attended the 2006 U20 National Team Trials; and the 2007 U19 National Team Trials included Breland, Hightower, Monroe, Pohlen and Vital.

Several trials participants garnered national honors, including Moore, who was named the 2009 Naismith and Wade Trophy winner and the U.S. Basketball Writers (USBWA) Player of the Year.

Joining Moore on the USBWA All-America Team were Appel and Lavender; while Appel, Charles and Lavender were named among the 12 finalists for the Wade Trophy.
The 2009 WBCA State Farm Coaches’ All-America Basketball Team included Appel, Charles, Lavender and Moore; while Clark, Hightower, Houts, McCray, Phillips, Prince and Vandersloot received honorable mention. Additionally, Swords was named as a regional finalist.

After leading Jefferson College to the 2009 NJCAA championship game, Adams was honored as the State Farm/WBCA Junior College/Community College Player of the Year and selected NJCAA Division I All-America first team as well as All-Region first team.

Six players earned Player of the Year honors in their conference, including Appel (Pac-10), Clark (Sun Belt), Lavender (Big Ten), Moore (Big East), Phillips (Atlantic 10) and Vandersloot (WCC). Hand was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year; and Clark also was named the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year.

Named to their all-conference first teams were Appel (Pac-10), Charles (Big East), Clark (Sun Belt), Evans (Colonial), Gray-Lawson (Pac-10), Hightower (SEC), Ibekwe (Pac-10), Lavender (Big Ten), McCray (Big 12), Moore (Big East), Phillips (Atlantic 10), Prince (Big East), Rack (SEC), Robinson (Big 12) and Vandersloot (WCC). Listed on all-conference second teams were Breland (ACC), Campbell (Pac-10), Houts (SEC), Monroe (ACC), Pohlen (Pac-10) and Swords (ACC); while third team selections were DeGraffenreid (ACC), Jaeschke (Big Ten) and Pedersen (Pac-10). Hand (Big 12) and Vital (Pac-10) were all-conference honorable mention; while Hand (Big 12) and Hayes (Big East) made all-freshman teams.

Selected to their all-conference defensive teams were Breland (ACC), Hightower (SEC), Ibekwe (Pac-10), Monroe (ACC), Phillips (Atlantic 10) and Robinson (Big 12).

Twenty-one players helped 14 schools reach the 2009 NCAA Tournament, including Appel, Hand, Pedersen, Pohlen and Robinson who reached the Final Four along with Charles, Hayes and Moore, who helped Connecticut to the 2009 national championship. Leading their teams to the first round were Clark, Houts and Phillips; while Breland, DeGraffenreid, Hightower, Monroe, Rack and Vandersloot advanced to the second round; and Gray-Lawson, Lavender, Prince and Vital played in the Sweet Sixteen.

Charles was named the 2009 Women’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player, while Appel and Moore were named All-Final Four and Moore was tabbed the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Trenton Regional.