Lots of USA Basketball experience in 2020 WNBA Draft

National team experience is all over the 2020 Draft

Going into the WNBA Draft, most fans are likely familiar with the top prospects’ college careers. However, they may be less aware of what those players accomplished on different levels of the U.S. national team. According to a report from USA Basketball, 18 projected draft choices have national team experience on their resumes, in many different forms.

Sabrina Ionescu, the expected No. 1 pick to the New York Liberty, was the MVP of the USA Basketball three-by-three Nationals the past two years, and she also won the inaugural three-by-three gold medal in the Pan-American Games last summer. She began her career with wins at both the 2013 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship in Cancun, Mexico, and the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Cup in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Ruthy Hebard joined Ionescu, not only at Oregon, but on the three-by-three champion teams at Nationals and the Pan-American Games. They also teamed to lead the Ducks to an upset of the senior national team, 93-86, in November. Hebard also won a gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship and a silver medal at the 2017 FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Udine, Italy.

Tyasha Harris, the point guard for the No. 1-ranked team in the country at the end of the season – South Carolina – didn’t have the chance to finish her college career the way it began, with a national title. But even before that, she was a gold medalist at the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship, dishing out 27 assists, which is a record for U.S. Under-18 players in a single tournament. One year later, she was named to the all-tournament team at the Under-19 World Cup, scoring eight points per game with 40 assists.

Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter broke out at the 2017 Under-19 World Cup in Italy, averaging 16 points per game en route to making the all-tournament team as a silver medalist. Her 31 points scored against Russia in the final are a U.S. Under-19 record. She also scored in double figures and won a gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile, plus won silver with 11 points per game at the Pan-American Games in 2019. Although the Aggies lost by 30 to the senior national team this fall, Carter scored 34 points, which are the most from an opposing collegiate player since 1996.

In addition to her national title at Baylor, Lauren Cox won gold medals at the 2013 Under-16 FIBA Americas Championship in Cancun, the 2014 Under-17 World Cup in the Czech Republic, and the 2015 Under-19 World Cup in Chekhov, Russia. In the gold medal game win over Spain in 2014, Cox scored 20 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and added eight blocks. And she was MVP of the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship, bringing another gold medal to USA Basketball.

Crystal Dangerfield is on an exclusive list of five U.S. players to appear in two Under-19 World Cups. Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck, A’ja Wilson, and Alexis Jones are the other four. Dangerfield first won the 2015 Under-19 World Cup in Russia, then silver two years later in Italy, where she scored nine points per game. An injury kept her out of the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship, but UConn teammate Megan Walker was there to win the gold medal, with just below 10 points per game. Walker also was on the 2017 Under-19 team.

Joining Carter and Harris on the U.S. team that won the silver medal at last summer’s Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru, falling to Brazil in the final, were: Brittany Brewer (Texas Tech), Bella Alarie (Princeton), Kathleen Doyle (Iowa), Beatrice Mompremier (Miami, Fla.), Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State), and Peyton Williams (Kansas State).

Besides Carter, Harris, Dangerfield, Walker, and Hebard, draft prospects from the Under-19 team that won the silver medal in Italy in 2017 are Alarie and Texas Longhorn teammates Sug Sutton and Joyner Holmes. Holmes was on the all-tournament team at the 2014 Under-17 World Cup, after winning gold.

In addition, Maryland teammates Kaila Charles and Stephanie Jones both had worked out with national teams in the past, while Baylor’s Te’a Cooper was kept out of the 2014 Under-17 World Cup due to an injury.

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