Danielle McCray Invited To USA Basketball's World University Games Team Trials

May 6, 2009


University of Kansas rising senior Danielle McCray was extended an invitation to the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games National Team Trials. McCray and a roster that includes 29 of the nation’s best college athletes, 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 train in Colorado until the team departs for Belgrade on June 25. The 12-member team will be named prior to the team’s departure for Serbia.

The World University Games is a multi-sport competition 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.

McCray, who earned All-Big 12 First Team honors and Honorable Mention All-America honors, finished the 2008-09 season ranked eighth in the NCAA and second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring with 21.6 points per game. In addition, she ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 in 10 different statistical categories.

“I am really excited about this opportunity,” said McCray, who led the Jayhawks to a 22-14 overall mark and an appearance in the 2009 WNIT Championship game. “I am thrilled to be invited to the tryouts and am looking forward the experience of competing against some of the best players in the country.”

McCray is the first Kansas player invited to the World University Games National Team Trials since Shaquina Mosley did so in 2005. Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson was an assistant coach on the silver-medal winning 1999 World University Games Team and former Jayhawk great Lynette Woodard suited up for the 1979 World University Games Team that captured a gold medal. In addition, KU Head Team Physician Dr. Larry Magee, was the team physician for the 1995 World University Games Team.

In addition to McCray, the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games National Team Trials Roster features: Danielle Adams (Jefferson Junior College / Kansas City, Mo.); Jayne Appel (Stanford/Pleasant Hill, Calif.); 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.); Jantel Lavender (Ohio State/Cleveland, Ohio); Jacinta Monroe (Florida State / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); Maya Moore (Connecticut/Lawrenceville, Ga.); Kayla Pederson (Stanford/Fountain Hills, Ariz.) Ta’Shia Phillips (Xavier / Indianapolis, Ind.); Jeanette Pohlen (Stanford / Brea, Calif.); Epiphanny Prince (Rutgers / Brooklyn, N.Y.); Alex Rack (Mississippi / 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, 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 National Team Trials Invitees

The trials roster features one athlete, Hand, who completed her freshman year this past season, 15 who finished their sophomore campaigns and 13 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.

Six 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.

Jaeschke, Lavender, Moore and Pedersen helped 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 wrapped up a 2-3 record and 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; Houts participated in the 2007 U21/Pan American Games 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 U.S. Basketball Writers (USBWA) Player of the Year, the State Farm Wade Trophy Player of the Year and the 2009 Naismith Trophy winner.

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 NJCAA championship game, Adams was honored as the 2009 State Farm/WBCA Junior College Player of the Year and was named to the 2009 NJCAA Division I
All-American first team and the NJCAA All-Region first team.

Six players earned Player of the Year honors for 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), 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), Hayes (Big East) and Vital (Pac-10) received honorable mention.

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

Twenty-one players helped 14 schools reach the NCAA Tournament, including Appel, Pedersen and Pohlen who reached the Final Four along with Charles, Hayes and Moore, who helped Connecticut to the 2009 national championship. Finished after the first round were Clark, Houts and Phillips; while Breland, Degraffenreid, Gray-Lawson, Hightower, Monroe, Rack, Vandersloot and Vital lost in the second round; and Lavender and Prince 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.

USA World University Games History

USA Basketball women’s teams have participated in 14 prior World University Games and collected a record six golds, six silvers and one bronze medal. Since 1973, the first year the USA women competed in the WUGs, the United States has compiled an 82-15 record. In 2005, the last year USA Basketball sent a team to the WUGs, the USA posted a 7-0 slate en route to the gold medal.

Most notable among the list of WUG alumni are 2008 Olympic gold medalists Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, Lisa Leslie, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Cappie Pondexter and Tina Thompson; as well as 2008 head coach Anne Donovan and assistant coach Dawn Staley. Additionally, Olympians Carol Blazejowski, Ruthie Bolton, Pat Head (Summitt), Katrina McClain, Suzie McConnell (Serio), Ann Meyers (Drysdale), Ruth Riley, Katy Steding, Kara Wolters and Lynette Woodward played for the USA in the World University Games.

2008 USA Womens World University Games National Team Trials Schedule

Thursday, May 14

6:30-8:15 p.m. Session I

Friday, May 15

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Session II

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Session III

Saturday, May 16

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Session IV

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Session V

Sunday, May 17

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Session VI

TBD Announcement of USA team finalists

NOTE: All USA Trials sessions will be held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center=s Sports Center II and are open to credentialed media only. All times listed are Mountain Daylight Time.



Danielle Adams G 6-1 215 02/19/89 2009 Jefferson College Kansas City, MO

Jayne Appel F 6-4 210 05/14/88 2010 Stanford Pleasant Hill, CA

Jessica Breland F 6-3 164 02/23/88 2010 North Carolina Kelford, NC

Doreena Campbell G 5-9 141 07/03/89 2011 UCLA Alexandria, VA

Tina Charles C 6-3 193 12/05/88 2010 Connecticut Jamaica, NY

Alysha Clark F 5-10 162 07/07/87 2010 Middle Tennessee State Mt. Juliet, TN

Cetera DeGraffenreid G 5-5 140 12/05/88 2011 North Carolina Cullowhee, NC

Dawn Evans G 5-7 135 06/30/89 2011 James Madison Clarksville, TN

Tyra Grant G 5-11 166 08/27/88 2010 Penn State Youngstown, OH

Alexis Gray-Lawson G 5-8 160 04/21/87 2010 California Oakland, CA

Whitney Hand G 6-1 165 08/16/89 2012 Oklahoma Fort Worth, TX

Tiffany Hayes G 5-11 140 09/20/89 2012 Connecticut Lakeland, FL

Allison Hightower G/F 5-11 144 04/06/88 2010 LSU Arlington, TX

Ashley Houts G 5-6 144 12/31/87 2010 Georgia Trenton, GA

Ify Ibekwe F 6-2 158 10/05/89 2011 Arizona Carson, CA

Amy Jaeschke F 6-5 225 04/26/89 2011 Northwestern Wilmette, IL

Jantel Lavender C 6-4 210 11/11/88 2011 Ohio State Cleveland, OH

Danielle McCray G/F 5-11 169 10/08/87 2010 Kansas Olathe, KS

Jacinta Monroe F/C 6-5 166 09/04/88 2010 Florida State Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Maya Moore F 6-0 170 06/11/89 2011 Connecticut Lawrenceville, GA

Kayla Pedersen G/F 6-4 195 04/14/89 2011 Stanford Fountain Hills, AZ

Ta’Shia Phillips C 6-6 225 01/24/89 2011 Xavier Indianapolis, IN

Jeanette Pohlen G 5-11 168 05/02/89 2011 Stanford Brea, CA

Epiphanny Prince G 5-9 160 01/11/88 2011 Rutgers Brooklyn, NY

Alex Rack G 5-4 140 09/15/88 2010 Mississippi State Franklin, LA

Danielle Robinson G 5-8 130 05/10/89 2011 Oklahoma San Jose, CA

Carolyn Swords C 6-6 220 07/19/89 2011 Boston College Sudbury, MA

Courtney Vandersloot G 5-8 135 02/08/89 2011 Gonzaga Kent, WA

Natasha Vital G 5-8 145 06/09/88 2010 California Stockton, CA

Head Coach: Charli Turner Thorne, Arizona State

Assistant Coach: Suzy Merchant, Michigan State

Assistant Coach: Julie Rousseau, Pepperdine