Meighan Simmons among USA U19 invitees

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Current Tennessee Lady Vol freshman basketball guard Meighan Simmons (Cibolo, Texas) has been joined by UT signees Cierra Burdick (Matthews, N.C.) and Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook, Ill.) in accepting invitations to attend the 2011 USA Women's U19 World Championship Team Trials, USA Basketball today announced.

"I am thrilled that Meighan, Cierra and Ariel will have an opportunity to play for the USA U19 team," said UT head coach Pat Summitt. "The summer basketball experience, the travel and the chance to represent your country are second to none."

Twenty-four USA Basketball medalists are among 35 of the nation's top 19-and-under athletes invited to the Trials which will be held May 22-25 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Invitations to the trials were issued by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president for Division I women's basketball.

"The committee is very excited about the young talent that will be at this year's USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team Trials," said Donohoe. "So many of these athletes already know what it takes to win a gold medal, and that will make the trials so much more competitive and that much harder for the committee to narrow down this group to just one team."

Eight members of the 2010 USA U18 National Team that earned the USA its 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship berth are returning to compete for a spot on the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team - as is the coaching staff. The USA again will be led by the University of Hartford's Jennifer Rizzotti, with assistant coaches Sue Semrau of Florida State University and Joi Williams of the University of Central Florida.

Only U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) are eligible for the 2011 USA Basketball Women's U19 World Championship Team.

Accepting invitations to the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team Trials are: Jordan Adams (Mater Dei H.S./Irvine, Calif.); Cierra Burdick (Butler H.S./Matthews, N.C.); Briyona Canty (Trenton Catholic Academy/Willingboro, N.J.); Andraya Carter (Buford H.S./Flowery Branch, Ga.); Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.); Stefanie Dolson (Connecticut/Port Jervis, N.Y.); Aaryn Ellenberg (Oklahoma/Las Vegas, Nev.); Chassidy Fussell (Texas/Troy, Tenn.); Karla Gilbert (Texas A&M/College Station, Texas); Bashaara Graves (Clarksville H.S./Clarksville, Tenn.); Bria Hartley (Connecticut/North Babylon, N.Y.); Justine Hartman (Brea Olinda H.S./Brea, Calif.); Kaneisha Horn (Alabama/Birmingham, Ala.); Malina Howard (Twinsburg H.S./Twinsburg, Ohio); Moriah Jefferson (Texas Home Educators Sports Association/Glenn Heights, Texas); Alexis Jones (Irving MacArthur H.S./Irving, Texas); Betnijah Laney (Smyrna H.S./Clayton, Del.); Allyson Malott (Madison H.S./Middletown, Ohio); Tyaunna Marshall (Georgia Tech/Upper Marlboro, Md.); Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.); Khaalidah Miller (Georgia/Atlanta, Ga.); Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Mater Dei H.S./Anaheim, Calif.); Cassie Peoples (Cy-Fair H.S./Houston, Texas); Theresa Plaisance (LSU/Marrero, La.); Shoni Schimmel (Louisville/Mission, Ore.); Meighan Simmons (Tennessee/Cibolo, Texas); Odyssey Sims (Baylor/Irving, Texas); Bria Smith (Christ the King H.S. / Massapequa, N.Y.); Imani Stafford (Winward H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.); Kiah Stokes (Linn-Mar H.S./Marion, Iowa); Alyssa Thomas (Maryland/Harrisburg, Pa.); Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.); Alexyz Vaioletama (Mater Dei H.S./Fountain Valley, Calif.); and Elizabeth Williams (Princess Anne H.S./Virginia Beach, Va.).

The USA U19 World Championship Team training camp will open June 1-5 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., as part of the ESPN RISE Girls Showcase. The USA will train for four days before facing the Brazil U19 National Team on June 5. The game will be televised on ESPNU and also shown online at ESPN3.com.

Then on July 11-15, the USA U19 squad will reassemble for training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, before the team travels to Chile for its final preparations.

As the winner of the past three U19 World Championships, the USA will look to defend its title at the 2011 U19 Worlds, hosted by Chile from July 21-31 in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas.

The USA has been drawn into Group B for preliminary round play and will tip-off against Japan on July 21 (12:30 p.m. EDT), face Russia on July 22 (12:30 p.m. EDT) and close the first round against Argentina on July 23 (10:15 a.m. EDT). The second round will be played July 25-27, quarterfinals are slated for July 29, semifinals will be held on July 30 and the finals are scheduled for July 31.

Current collegiate athletes invited to participate in the 2011 USA U19 World Championship Team Trials are eligible and may also be considered for the 2011 USA World University Games Team. Trials for both teams will take place in staggered sessions May 22-25.

The 2011 World University Games women's basketball competition is scheduled for Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.

In addition to Donohoe, the committee includes NCAA appointees Joanne Boyle (University of Virginia), Coquese Washington (Penn State University) and Connie Yori (University of Nebraska), as well as athlete representative Beth Cunningham (Virginia Commonwealth University, 1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).

Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years from 1985 through 2005. FIBA now conducts the U19 World Championship every other year. USA women's teams are 49-11 all-time in U19/Junior World championships, most recently capturing a third consecutive gold with an 8-1 record in 2009.

Some of the top players who have represented the United States in past FIBA U19 World Championships include: Angela Aycock (1993); Alana Beard (2001); Essence Carson (2005); Tamika Catchings (1997); Monique Currie (2001); Crystal Langhorne (2005); Erlana Larkins (2005); Jantel Lavender (2007); Lisa Leslie (1989); Rebecca Lobo (1993); Maya Moore (2007); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009); Vickie Orr (1985); Courtney Paris (2005); Cappie Pondexter (2001); Katie Smith (1993); Dawn Staley (1989); Ann Strother (2001); Diana Taurasi (2001); Abby Waner (2005); and Candice Wiggins (2005).

2011 USA Basketball Women's U19 World Championship Team Training Schedule:

May 22-25: USA U19 National Team Trials U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colo.; June 1-4: USA U19 National Team Training, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; June 5: USA U19 versus Brazil U19, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (ESPNU & ESPN3.com); July 11-15: Training Camp, U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colo., July 18-20: Training Camp, TBD, Chile


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