May 20, 2013
Official USA Basketball Release • VIDEO: U19 Head Coach Katie Meier
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern incoming freshman Nia Coffey (Minneapolis, Minn./Hopkins) has officially been selected to play on the USA Women’s Basketball U19 World Championship Team. Coffey was one of 34 invited to the trials that took place May 16-19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The 6-foot-1 forward is one of four newcomers to make the 12-member USA squad. Coffey was participating in her third USA Basketball trials and now as a member of the squad, she looks to play a key role on the U19 team that will compete at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in Lithuania from July 18-28.
“I came here just doing what I do best, not trying to do anything that I’m not comfortable doing,” Coffey said upon the conclusion of the trials. “Just play my hardest and actually believe in myself and have confidence. I’m an all-around player, I’m a good team player, so just bringing that team aspect to it and just being the best teammate I can.”
The USA team will be on a mission to secure its fifth-straight gold medal in Lithuania this summer. University of Miami head coach Katie Meier will be taking on her second year as a USA National Team head coach.
"I'm thrilled; the length is incredible, the talent, the diversity, everybody brings a little something different,” Meier said. “That gives us a lot of choices as coaches in a lot of different ways that we can win basketball games. (The committee) put together what I think is the team that answers any type of a question. We have speed. We have quickness. We have size. We have shooters. They really made sure that they gave us every weapon."
The final decision was made by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee, chaired by UT Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster.
"We were able to pick a U19 team that has a lot of strengths in a lot of different areas," Foster said. "I think that bodes well for them. They have good size. They have some people who can put the ball in the basket. They're athletic, and I think they can be good defensively. It's a team that has a lot of potential to be very successful.”
The U19 squad will regroup for training on July 1 at the US Olympic Training Center prior to traveling to Europe for a July 11-14 Spain-hosted tournament in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Featuring U19 squads from Australia, Canada and Spain, the tournament will be good test for the U.S. From there, the American women will travel to Lithuania in an attempt to defend gold.
The FIBA U19 Worlds will feature 16 teams with athletes 19-years-old or younger. While Lithuania earned an automatic berth to the tournament as host, the remaining 15 nations were determined by the five FIBA zone qualifiers in 2012. In addition to the U.S., nations qualified out of the FIBA Americas zone include Brazil (silver medalist), Argentina (bronze medalist) and Canada (fourth place). Senegal (gold medalist) and Mali (silver medalist) will represent FIBA Africa; advancing from FIBA Asia are China (gold medalist), Japan (silver medalist) and South Korea (bronze medalist); Australia took FIBA Oceania’s spot after wining the best-of-three series against New Zealand; while FIBA Europe will be represented by France (gold medalist), Russia (silver medalist), Serbia (bronze medalist), Netherlands (fourth place) and Spain (fifth place).
Drawn into Group D, the U.S. will play its preliminary and second round games in PanevėÂ×ys, and opens against Lithuania on July 18, followed by China on July 19 and caps the preliminary round against Mali on July 20.
The top three finishing teams from each first-round group will advance to the second round, held July 22-24. The 12 nations qualifying for the second round will be divided into Groups E and F. Each team will play the three new teams in its new group, with all results of games played in the preliminary round carrying over to determine the second-round standings.
Teams finishing in first through fourth places in the second round will qualify for the quarterfinals, with the opportunity to advance to the semifinals and finals. The medal round will be played in Klaipeda, with the quarterfinals held on July 26, semifinals slated for July 27 and the gold medal game on July 28.
Coffey is one of four new Wildcats who will be joining the team as incoming freshman in the fall. The incoming class includes Ashley Deary (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound), guard Christen Inman (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes), who received 2013 WBCA High School All-America honorable mention accolades, and forward Allie Tuttle (Cary, N.C./Panther Creek).
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