Crystal Dangerfield and Megan Walker will have something to talk about with University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma when they get on campus next week to start summer session classes.
Maybe they can do it in Auriemma's native Italian, since Dangerfield and Walker will be spending a good portion of their summer in Italy.
"It would be good to know a few words," Dangerfield said with a laugh Sunday after she and Walker were named to the USA Basketball national team that will play in the FIBA U-19 World Cup to be held July 22-30 in Udine and Cividale del Friuli, Italy.
UConn is scheduled to tour Italy from Aug. 13-22.
Nine college sophomores, two incoming college freshmen, and one high school player make up the 12-player roster.
Joining Dangerfield and Walker on the U-19 squad are UConn Class of 2018 recruiting target Christyn Williams, University of Texas sophomores Joyner Holmes and Alecia Sutton, Princeton sophomore Bella Alarie, Harvard sophomore Jeannie Boehm, Texas A&M freshman Chennedy Carter, South Carolina sophomore Tyasha Harris, Oregon sophomore Ruthy Hebard, Vanderbilt sophomore Kayla Overbeck, and Arizona State sophomore Reili Richardson.
"I'm really excited about the personnel that we have on this team as the journey begins to prepare to try and win a gold medal," Team USA coach and Pittsburgh coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. "Watching these players through the trials, there were so many great players here, and this is a special team. The committee put together a team we feel very confident in, in their skill-set, in the energy that they will bring in representing the United States and the pride they will have in doing so. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work with these players."
Thirty-three players took part in the trials that started Thursday night and wrapped up Sunday morning at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Among those not making the cut were Huskies' freshman Mikayla Coombs and UConn Class of 2018 commit Charli Collier.
The chairperson of the selection committee is George Washington University coach and former UConn All-American Jennifer Rizzotti.
Dangerfield was at a USA trials for the fifth consecutive May. She owns gold medals with the 2013 U-16 team and the 2015 U-19 team. She was selected to the 2016 U-18 team but withdrew due to a hip injury that required surgery.
"It gets a little easier the more times you're here, because you know that it's your job to play and it's the committee's job to pick the team," Dangerfield said. "I was really pleased with how these trails went. But when I heard my name this morning, there was a sigh of relief. It was a real good feeling."
The 5-foot-6 guard from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, could become the fifth player to win two U-19 gold medals, joining former UConn All-Americans Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck, South Carolina All-American A'ja Wilson, and former Baylor guard Alexis Jones.
While 23 of the 33 players at the USOTC had played in college last season, only one had played in the U-19 world championships. Dangerfield averaged 7.0 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.0 steals as Team USA beat host Russia in the 2015 gold medal game.
"I thought that it was important to come here and be a leader, be vocal, because I have that experience," Dangerfield said.
Walker was a member of the 2016 U-18 national team that qualified Team USA for this summer's U-19 World Cup when it won the gold at the FIBA Americas Championship. She averaged 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in five games in the event held in Valdivia, Chile. Walker also won a silver medal at the 2016 3x3 U-18 world championship.
The 6-foot-1 wing from Chesterfield, Virginia, swept most national high school Player of the Year honors as a senior as she led Monacan High to an unbeaten season and a third straight state championship by averaging 25.9 points and 7.6 rebounds.
"The competition (at the USOTC) was tough," Walker said. "I'm excited and I'm ready to represent my country. It's just a blessing to be able to wear USA and compete against the best teams in the world."
Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas, won a bronze medal at the 2016 U-17 world championships and is the youngest player on the U-19 club. The two-time Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year has narrowed her college choices to UConn, Baylor, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and UCLA.
Dangerfield said she enjoyed her time with Walker and Coombs -- who was her roommate in Colorado -- and looked forward to reuniting in Storrs next weekend.
"It was great being around them and having the chance to play them here," Dangerfield said. "Megan played very well during the trials, I'm looking forward to playing with her, and congratulations to her. But I feel for Mikayla. She was really good and did the things she needed to do. It's tough. I've been there. I'll talk to her when we get to school and I hope it doesn't get her down."
Team USA will open group play against Mali on July 22, then face China on July 23 and host Italy on July 25. Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded according to group play and all participating teams will advance to the July 26 round of 16. Winners will advance to the July 28 medal quarterfinals, while the remaining teams will continue playing out for classification. The medal semifinals will be held July 29, and the gold and bronze medal games are slated for July 30.
Also competing in the 16-nation tournament are Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Korea and Spain.