Christyn Williams used an oxygen mask getting ready for USA Basketball's U-18 national team trials to help her prepare for the altitude in Colorado Springs.
"It's still kicking my butt," Williams said with a smile of the altitude of 6,035 feet.
Don't count on her throwing that mask away. Williams and fellow University of Connecticut incoming freshman Olivia Nelson-Ododa were selected Monday night to the 12-player squad that will take part in the FIBA U-18 Americas Championships. The team will return for a training camp on July 20 ahead of the tournament being held Aug. 1-7 at a site to be determined.
Thirty-five players took part in the trials that started Saturday.
"It was a group that competed in every single scrimmage," Louisville and Team USA U-18 coach Jeff Walz said in a statement. "They went out and did exactly what they were asked to do. The energy level was fantastic. It was a remarkable three days of trials. Now that the team has been selected, you've got your 12. Now, we are looking forward to getting to know them and finding out what combinations will work the best."
Notre Dame had two of its incoming freshmen selected in guards Jordan Nixon and Abby Prohaska, as well as Irish 2019 commit and guard Anaya Peoples. Baylor also had two of its incoming freshmen chosen in forwards Queen Egbo and NaLyssa Smith. Other incoming college freshmen named were guard Jenna Brown (Stanford), forward Nazarah Hillmon-Baker (Michigan), guard Rhyne Howard (Kentucky) and center Sedona Prince (Texas). The only other high school player named with Peoples was guard Aijha Blackwell.
Nelson-Ododa and Williams were teammates on the USA team that won a bronze medal at the 2016 FIBA U-17 world championships. Williams added a silver medal at the 2017 U-19 world championships and a gold medal at the 2017 FIBA 3x3 U-18 World Cup. Nelson-Ododa did not participate in any trials a year ago as she recovered from surgery to repair a dislocated knee cap and a torn ligament in the knee.
Williams, a 5-foot-11 guard from Little Rock, Arkansas, averaged 26.8 points and 10.4 rebounds as a senior in leading Central Arkansas Christian to the Class 4A state championship. Nelson-Ododa, a 6-foot-4 forward from Winder, Georgia, averaged 19.5 points, 15.9 rebounds and 5.2 blocks her senior year as Winder-Barrow High earned a state tournament quarterfinal appearance.
The two will fly to Connecticut on Tuesday for the start of summer school with their fellow Huskies. They'll be in Storrs for about five weeks, and they're ready to go.
"I've been watching UConn since I was younger," Nelson-Ododa said. "To be able to follow them the past couple years especially, I'm really looking forward to playing with my new teammates and seeing how I fit in with my new team. I want to work and learn the skills I need to be successful there."
U-17 finalists named
USA Basketball named 18 finalists Monday -- including eight from the team that won gold at the 2017 FIBA U-16 Americas Championship -- for the 12 spots for the U-17 national team that will participate in FIBA U-17 World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, in July.
Leading the way for the finalists is center Aliyah Boston of Worcester (Massachusetts) Academy, who was the MVP of the U-16 championships a year ago. She is joined by U-16 veterans Fran Belibi (forward, Centennial, Colorado), forward Samantha Brunelle (Ruckersville, Virginia), guard Paige Bueckers (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), Zia Cooke (guard, Toledo, Ohio), Azzi Fudd (guard, Arlington, Virginia), Jordan Horston (guard, Columbus, Ohio) and Celeste Taylor (guard, Valley Stream, New York).
The other finalists seeking a spot on their first national team are Hailey Van Lith (guard, Wenatchee, Washington), River Baldwin (center, Andalusia, Alabama), Cameron Brink (forward, Beaverton, Oregon), Rickea Jackson (guard, Detroit, Michigan), Haley Jones (guard/forward, Santa Cruz, California), Charisma Osborne (guard, Moreno Valley, California), Angel Reese (guard/forward, Randallstown, Maryland), Alli Campbell (guard, Altoona, Pennsylvania), Aubrey Griffin (forward, Ossining, New York) and Hannah Gusters (center, DeSoto, Texas).
The final roster is expected to be announced Wednesday night. The U-17 team is coached by Tufts University's Carla Berube, the former UConn standout.
"This was a very difficult decision," USA Basketball women's national team director and chair of the USA developmental national team committee Carol Callan said. "Yet, it's a great statement for the future of women's basketball because there were so many quality athletes who made this trials the most competitive we've had. Once again, the concept of an open application process was validated. One of our goals is to have each of the athletes leave as a better player and with more skills to draw upon, and that goal was achieved. Now we look forward to the next step of selecting the 12-member team and that will also be a challenge for both the athletes and our committee."
A total of 158 players -- 35 invited by USA Basketball, 123 applicant candidates who paid their own way -- started trials last Thursday. Two applicant candidates are among the finalists: Griffin and Osborne.