A'ja Wilson will have a chance to add an Under-23 championship to the NCAA title she won this year.
Wilson was announced Friday as a member of the inaugural USA Basketball U23 team that will play in a four-team tournament in Japan later this month.
South Carolina's senior center is joined on the team by Tennessee's Jaime Nared and Mercedes Russell. Also making the squad are Texas' Ariel Atkins, Baylor's Kalani Brown, Louisville's Asia Durr, Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, Stanford's Brittney McPhee, Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell. Notre Dame guard Arike Ogunbowale and UCLA's Monique Billings and Jordin Canada round out the squad.
''It was really hard,'' committee chair Jen Rizzotti said of the final cut. ''I said to the group, it's a lot harder when you have to cut people that deserve to be on the team then add people that don't. They gave everything they had.''
The team, which will compete against Japan, Australia and Canada, is coached by Louisville's Jeff Walz. He was excited to coach this group.
''We could play a variety of styles of basketball and we have some phenomenal athletes that could push the ball up and down the floor,'' he said. ''Some posts that can score with their back to the basket and some that can hit the 15-footer. It's a great group. You sit here and look at the 12 and it's more about who you are going to play because there's so much talent.''
Of the 36 players that tried out at the camp, only 31 were eligible for the team. Four UConn players and Rebecca Greenwell of Duke have school trips during the time of the tournament in Japan, so they couldn't make the team.
Rizzotti hopes they will do the camp again in the future. The only downside was the injury to Penn State guard Teniya Page, who fractured and dislocated her ankle on Thursday.
''I'm devastated as she's such a great kid,'' Walz said. ''She was competing at a high level and her spirits were great. She has a job in front of her now. Get that ankle taken care of and then rehab.''
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