McConnell-Serio Named USA Basketball U18 National Team Head Coach

McConnell-Serio leads Team USA at the FIBA Americas Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (pittsburghpanthers.com) – Pitt’s Suzie McConnell-Serio has been named the USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Head Coach for the upcoming 2016 FIBA Americas Championship this July in Chile.

McConnell-Serio will be joined by assistant coaches Kamie Ethridge, the current head coach at Northern Colorado, and Charlotte Smith, the current head coach at Elon. All three have gold medals as players for Team USA.

The 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will take place July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile, where the top four finishing teams will earn a berth into the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.

“It’s such an incredible honor to be named the head coach for USA Basketball,” McConnell-Serio said. “I was shocked to be asked and also thankful that the committee selected me. You never imagine something like this happening, and when you’re asked to do it there is no hesitation because to represent your country and wear USA on your chest, there is no greater sense of pride. I am so excited to have this opportunity.”

This is McConnell-Serio’s second USA Basketball coaching assignment. She helped USA to a 6-0 record and gold medal as an assistant coach at the 2011 World University Games.

“With the age group and level of this competition, we felt it was imperative to get a strong teaching staff,” said Jim Foster (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga), who is chair of the committee. “Suzie McConnell-Serio is probably one of the most qualified coaches with a unique resume of high school, AAU, professional, mid-major and major conference coaching. She has long been known as someone who understood the game of basketball on many levels, both as a player and as a coach.”

In addition to Foster, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt), Lindsay Gottlieb (California) and Joi Williams (UCF); and athlete representative Kara Lawson Barling, who is a 2008 Olympic gold medalist.

2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship:
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight U18 national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, and the top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.

Trials to select the 12-member USA roster will take place May 27-31 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).

The United States and Canada earned automatic berths into the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship from North America. Also earning a place in the tournament were the top three finishing teams from the 2015 South American U17 Championship, including Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Additionally, Guatemala, Mexico and Puerto Rico earned the three berths available from the 2015 Centrobasket U17 Championship.

Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event was held every four years from 1998-2004. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2004 championship and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.

USA women's teams boast of a remarkable 48-2 overall record in U18 / Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996.