Courtesy of our friends at USA Basketball:

The 2011 USA Basketball Women’s Pan American Games Team will feature 11 college athletes and one high school senior competing Oct. 21-25 in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the 2011 Pan American Games.

The official 12-member USA roster includes: Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y.), a high school senior who helped the USA to a gold medal and earned a spot on the five-person all-tournament team at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship this past July; alongside NCAA student-athletes Shante Evans (Hofstra/West Chester, Pa.); Christine Flores (Missouri/San Antonio, Texas); Tavelyn James (Eastern Michigan/Detroit, Mich.); Emilie Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Loomis, Calif.); Marissa Kastanek (North Carolina State/Lincoln, Neb.); Kevi Luper (Oral Roberts/Adair, Okla.); Valencia McFarland (Mississippi/ Edwards, Miss.); Katelan Redmon (Gonzaga/Spokane, Wash.); Kayla Standish (Gonzaga/Ellensburg, Wash.); April Sykes (Rutgers/Starkville, Miss.); and Avery Warley (Liberty/
Washington, D.C.). The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Committee.

The USA, which will look to defend its 2007 Pan American Games gold medal, will be led by an experienced trio of accomplished coaches, including USA head coach Ceal Barry alongside assistant coaches Jennifer Gillom and Debbie Ryan.

“We have a great variety of players, and I think the selection committee did a tremendous job in a tough time period,” Barry said. “It’s tough for college players to get away, but this is a group that is versatile and talented. We’ll find out once we get to Houston how we are going to fit these pieces together, and I’m looking forwarding to working with all 12 players.”

The U.S. squad will open training camp on Oct. 15 with an evening practice in Houston, Texas (time and location TBD), followed by two practices on Oct. 16 and 17, and a morning session on Oct. 18. The team will depart for Guadalajara and the 2011 Pan American Games on Oct. 18, and will have a practice on Oct. 19 and 20 before the competition starts on Oct. 21.

Three 2011 USA team members have prior USA Basketball experience. As a member of the 2011 USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team, Stewart averaged team-highs of 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game to go along with 1.7 blocks in 19.9 minutes per game to help the USA to a 7-1 record and gold medal at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. Shooting 46.8 percent from the field (36-77 FGs), Stewart was named to the five-member all-tournament team. She also won gold medals with the USA at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship in France and the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mexico.

Additionally, Sykes was one of 14 finalists for the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team, while Standish attended trials for the 2011 USA WUGs team.

The 2011 USA Women’s Pan American Games Team includes seven players who will graduate from college in 2012, three members of the junior class who will graduate in 2013 and one college sophomore. Stewart has one year of high school remaining before she is expected to head to the University of Connecticut in the fall of 2012, where she has verbally committed to attend.

Represented by one athlete on the USA roster are the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12 Conference, Big East Conference, Big South Conference, Big West Conference, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), Mid-American Conference (MAC), the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Summit League, while the West Coast Conference (WCC) is represented by Gonzaga teammates Redmon and Standish.

For a second consecutive year, Luper was named the Summit League Player of the Year following the 2010-11 season, and Luper and Warley (Big South) each took home conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Listing on their all-conference first teams in 2010-11 were Evans (CAA), James (MAC), Johnson (Big West), Luper (Summit), Redmon (WCC), Standish (WCC) and Warley (Big South).

Sykes listed on the 2011 Big East All-Conference second team, while Kastanek (ACC) earned honorable mention and McFarland was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Additionally, Warley and Standish were named to their conference all-tournament teams.

The draw for the 2011 Pan American Games women’s basketball competition took place on June 27, and the U.S. women will play in preliminary round Group A, along with Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico; while Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Jamaica comprise Group B. Preliminary round play for the women’s basketball competition runs Oct. 21, 22 and 23, with the semifinals on Oct. 24, and the finals on Oct. 25.

The Pan American Games are a multi-sport competition held every four years (2011, 2015, etc.) in the year preceding the Olympics. Organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), the Games are open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

Overall, the USA women in Pan American Games competitions have won seven of 14 gold medals, as well as four silver and two bronze medals, compiling a 72-12 overall record.

Former players of note that have competed in the Pan American Games include: Jennifer Azzi (1991); Cynthia Cooper (1987); Anne Donovan (1983 and 1987); Teresa Edwards (1987 and 1991); Pat Head Summitt (1975); Nancy Lieberman (1975 and 1979); Katrina McClain (1987 and 1991); Angel McCoughtry (2007); Carla McGhee (1995); Ann Meyers (1975 and 1979); Cheryl Miller (1983); Dawn Staley (1995); Sheryl Swoopes (1995); and Candice Wiggins (2007).

USA Basketball

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.

Since 2008, USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions of the Olympics and the FIBA World Championships; FIBA women’s U19 world champions; the men’s and women’s title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championships; and the men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world ranking categories, including combined, men’s, women’s, boys and girls.

For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official Web site of USA Basketball at www.usabasketball.com and connect with us on facebook.com/usabasketball, twitter.com/usabasketball and www.youtube.com/therealusabasketball.