Berger named finalist for USA AmeriCup team

Indiana guard Grace Berger was named as one of 13 finalists for the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s AmeriCup Team on Wednesday night.

The finalists, which were named following four days of trails featuring 20 players, will return for training camp on June 1 with the official 12-member roster named prior to the team’s departure for the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup that will take place June 11-19 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“It was one of the most competitive trials I’ve been a part of,” Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, said. “I’m just so impressed with the level of play of these 20 female athletes. I’m also really impressed with their attitude, and their receptiveness, and their willingness to want to get better over a four-day span. The decision was really hard for the committee, because there just wasn’t a whole lot of separation, and I think those people that watched these women play this year in college basketball know how good of a talent level we had at this camp. We really appreciate the level of effort, professionalism and competitiveness that this group showed. At the end of the day of we feel really good about the group that we’ve put together to be the finalists.

“We wanted some flexibility on how to structure the roster and give Dawn (Staley) the ability to play people in the ways that she wants, and then be able to go down to Puerto Rico with the best compilation of players that gives us the best opportunity to win a gold medal.”

Joining Berger, who averaged 15.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists for the Hoosiers this past season, as a finalist were South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston and Destanni Henderson, N.C. State’s Jakia Brown-Turner and Elissa Cunane, Northwestern’s Veronica Burton, Michigan’s Naz Hillmon, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard, Stanford’s Haley Jones, Maryland’s Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu, Oregon’s Sedona Prince and Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith.

Staley, who will be assisted by Arizona coach Adia Barnes and Rizzoti, had nothing but good things to say about her charges.

“I want to talk about the 20 players out here that absolutely competed every single day,” Staley said. “This is not an easy thing to do, to have two-a-days for four straight days. Throughout those eight sessions, you have good sessions and bad sessions. The committee selected 20 players who were great throughout trials. The 13 players that got selected are equally as great. I thought they did some things to create some separation. That’s why they were named as finalists. It’s safe to say that we got some of the very best college players that we had available to us, and we’re looking forward to training camp and also looking forward to competing at the AmeriCup.”

*Photo courtesy of USA Basketball

25 comments

  1. Good for Grace!
    Looking at the list of finalists revealed some very impressive players, some of whom Grace has competed against.
    Not quite sure I understand the reasoning behind picking thirteen kids from among twenty, then telling ONE kid to go home.
    But it’s an honor to be among the thirteen, no matter what happens next.
    Thanks Jeremy.

    1. Grace Berger has a very high ceiling and this opportunity will grow her game. Five of the players are from the B1G and shows the level of talent in the conference. Keep grinding Grace and go Hoosiers!

  2. Agree with above. Maybe 13th girl after cut would be on call or maintained as alternate if needed. Good for Grace and IU women basketball representation.

  3. This is certainly not a surprise to IU fans who have watched her play over the years? She is a tremendous competitor! How in the world do you pick 13 out of 20 and then set it up to cut one more, ridiculous!! Go Grace!!

  4. Grace rocks. Grace under fire … rocks.
    Good for the B1G, all our candidates made the cut.
    Insane though if the next&last cut is as appears from 13 to 12.

  5. So very proud of Grace as we all are knowing how good she is. Wish her all the best. Strange elimination process to say the least.

  6. Kamilla Cardoso problem solved…for IU Ladies basketball for 3 years if she would cooperate into an assigned role by coaching staff…St Johns , maybe. Or most anywhere she wants.

    1. Don’t think Cardoso is happening. Not sure yet what is happening but a couple of familiar transfer names to keep an eye on — Iowa’s Lauren Jensen and Maryland’s Alaysia Styles.

  7. What in the WORLD is going on at Syracuse????
    Every play except one is in the transfer portal.
    Good luck coach Hillsman!

  8. Just a little fun for the office crowd at the coffee break area. Creme’s first bracketology has IU a 2 seed along with Mary. I would have thought of the terps more of a 1 seed considering Mulkey leaving Baylor who is the 4 th 1 seed. BTW Creme has IU #7 in the “way too early” poll. The coaches final poll has IU 8 th,,, Mary. 9 th. Even though all this means little , should be worth a smile or two.

  9. Maybe- but lets get real, we have only 2 more yrs with Holmes, then what. We saw how this team struggled with her on the bench mainly because of a lack of an outside threat. No one on this team can do what Mack can do,,, c’mon Moren and Staff get some athletics bigs and a Pure shooter wouldnt hurt. Defense is great but can only take you so far.

  10. Exactly. However, IU Ladies basketball parallels IU football and in the last couple decades IU men’s basketball in that those types of players have to be willing to play for IU, T. Moren and staff plus play in that system. I just don’t see it. The top programs and coaches just have an easier time recruiting the best of those kinds of players. Plus I don’t think changing IU Ladies system much other than a tweak or two would help. There have been several times where IU is on players top 5 list I think in reality already knows they are not going to choose IU. Or if there gets to be to much interest in IU a top coach and program comes and says play for us and IU Ladies lose out again. Therefore, in that respect T. Moren and staff are like catfish hunters creating ways to get the best they can….and overall has placed IU Ladies basketball into a top 20 program. I agree, Though IU Ladies basketball has high level recruits it’s hard to go any further unless they can win playing a little more comfortable rather than draining themselves physically every game. However, a few years ago it was probably thought that IU Ladies basketball has reached the finish line at its current status. Now, that status has been achieved, more is expected and even T. Moren and team feels that way. Next year will be interesting. Do IU Ladies with a veteran team take a step back, maintain, or take another step forward. After next year or two…Then what?

  11. Closer to home for Hannah’s family and friends, tallest player returning to Toledo (before transfers) was 6’0″. Toledo was 12-12 last year. Can’t blame Hannah one bit. She could easily make for a great team improvement at Toledo.

  12. I know Parrish says she is happy at Oregon and due to transfers may have more playing time. However, another guard transfer and governor keeping things locked down due to pandemic might raise ????

  13. Remember Parrish saying she went to Oregon because she wanted to win a championship. Maybe, A. Shade from Noblesville can see what is right in front of her.

  14. The Bolser girls got me confused. Cailyn, redshirt freshman volleyball at Ball State, sister
    Cailey must have redshirted in basketball at Toledo? Cailey has no stats from 20-21, but was listed on roster. So she can help Hannah! 🙂

    1. How easy is it for some top successful coaches to recruit? Baylor center transfers to LSU already to play for K. Mulkey.

  15. Oregon Ladies basketball transfer portal keeps growing…a big 6’4.” (May stay at Oregon) When Parrish signed with Oregon the reason was .to win championships. That opportunity was right in her home state. Unless she sees it as a vacation championships are not going to happen at Oregon. This 6’4” and Parrish followed by Shade….

  16. Could be. New image of Holmes looking more like Berger,, getting stronger! In the Rocky mode.

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