Staley to Lead USA in 2021 AmeriCup Action

Staley to Lead USA in 2021 AmeriCup Action
FILE - In this April 24, 2018, file photo, coach Dawn Staley talks with players and assistant coaches during a practice for the U.S. women's basketball team in Seattle. Staley would be prepping the U.S. women’s basketball team for the Tokyo Olympics this week if not for the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, she’ll hold a Zoom conference call with players who are vying for a spot on the roster in 2021, if the postponed Olympics are held next year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) (Source: Elaine Thompson)

COLUMBIA, S.C.- South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley will head up the 2021 USA AmeriCup Team coaching staff as the USA looks to earn a second-straight gold medal at the FIBA Americas event. As the 2018-21 USA Basketball Women’s National Team head coach, Staley will lead the AmeriCup team, which will be comprised of current collegiate athletes who will attend the April 18-21 team trials held at the University of South Carolina.

Ten nations from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean will take part in the 2021 AmeriCup, held June 11-19 in Puerto Rico. The top four finishing teams will advance to compete in one of four 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments in the hopes of earning one of the 12 spots in the 2022 FIBA World Cup field. Australia, host of the 2022 World Cup, and the 2020 Olympic champion will earn automatic berths to the World Cup but will be required to participate in the qualifying process.

Staley will be assisted by Arizona head coach Adia Barnes and U.S. Olympic assistant coach Jennifer Rizzotti. The list of invitees to the April 18-21 team trials will be announced at a later date.

“I am looking forward to working with Adia Barnes and Jen Rizzotti at the AmeriCup this summer,” said Staley, who also directed the 2019 USA AmeriCup squad to gold. “Adia Barnes has quickly proven herself to be one of the top coaches in our country and Jen brings a wealth of international experience to the staff. I’m also excited to be able to work with a younger group of athletes this summer. It will not be unlike when I coached at the Pan Am Games, having a team of top college players who will be competing against seasoned veterans from across the Americas. It will be incredibly competitive, but with this coaching staff, I am certain we’ll be able to properly train and prepare the USA to win the AmeriCup gold medal.”

With Staley at the helm, the USA Basketball National Team earned a 6-0 record and the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, which qualified the USA for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 23-August 8 in Tokyo, Japan). She also helmed the USA National Team as it compiled a 6-0 exhibition slate in 2018.

Following her gold-medal leadership of the USA at the 2018 FIBA World Cup, Staley was named as the 2018 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. Staley also was a co-recipient of the 2015 National Coach of the Year award, and she is the first person in USA Basketball history to have earned both the USA Basketball National Coach of the Year and USA Basketball Athlete of the Year (1994 and 2000) awards.

With Staley a USA assistant coach at the 2016 Olympic Games, the USA won a sixth-straight Olympic gold medal, and she was on the roster for five of those titles - three times as an athlete (1996, 2000, 2004) and twice as an assistant coach (2008, 2016). In all, as a USA Basketball head or assistant coach, Staley has helped USA teams to a 99=4 (.961) record, while collecting nine gold medals and one bronze.

At South Carolina, Staley is the program’s all-time winningest coach and has led the Gamecocks to all three NCAA Final Fours in program history, including their 2017 National Championship. Over the last eight seasons, her teams have claimed five SEC regular-season championships and six SEC Tournament titles. Her 152 career SEC victories are fourth in league history, and her .738 winning percentage (152-54) is second only to legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt.

Continue to check and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for the most up-to-date information on the women’s basketball season.

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