COLORADO SPRINGS — After three days of trials that featured 27 athletes, Oregon point guard Te-Hina Paopao is one of nine players to secure a roster spot on the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team.
Five athletes were named finalists for the other three roster spots on the 12-member team, the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Selection Committee announced on Sunday night.
Among the nine players named to the team and the five finalists, Paopao is one of seven to have played their freshman season at the college level in 2020-21. The 14 selected athletes will begin a training camp on July 19 at a site still to be announced.
The 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup is set to be contested in Debrecen, Hungary, on August 7-19. The final 12-player team will be named prior to the departure for Europe, where it will continue training for the FIBA U19 World Cup.
Paopao is coming off a tremendous freshman season for the Ducks in which she was an all-Pac-12 and Pac-12 all-freshman selection. She was the only Duck to start the first 19 games of the season before missing the final five due to injury, averaging 10.2 points, 4.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game while ranking No. 1 in the nation among freshmen with a 2.40 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Just the fifth UO freshman ever to receive all-conference honors and first since Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard in 2016-17, Paopao posted 11 double-figure scoring performances and shot 43.3 percent from the floor. She racked up 84 total assists in 19 games, good for No. 8 in UO freshman single-season history. Paopao was also solid defensively, leading Oregon with 27 steals and eight multi-steal performances.
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“It was a very spirited camp and fun for the committee to watch,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the selection committee. “I feel like the players did a phenomenal job of playing for each other, which made the final selection really difficult. Because some players were unable to attend the camp, our final decision to have finalists gives some flexibility to filling out the last roster spots.
“The committee is excited about the group of players we’re giving Cori and her staff to be able to go to Hungary and compete for another gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup.”
“I’m very thankful that I’m not having to make the decisions for the team,” said Cori Close, USA U19 and UCLA head coach. “I’m really pleased with the versatility of this group, with the ability to shoot the ball, with the physicality of it. So, I’m excited to get this group back together to start practicing, because this is a really hard tournament to win and we’re going to have to dig deep to do it. I think the committee selected a group that can get it done.”