After a season in which they got State to their first-ever number one seed and found themselves on All-American lists, Elissa Cunane and Jakia Brown-Turner’s basketball year continues.
Sunday, both officially made the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s AmeriCup Team. After weeks of trials, the number of players narrowed down to 20, then 13, before the final, 12 women roster. Out of the 12 rostered members, Cunane and Brown-Turner join Maryland and South Carolina as the most represented school with two player.
Cunane had possibly the greatest season, awards and stats-wise, to any player in State history last year. ESPN All-American First Team, AP and USBWA All-American Second Team, First Team All-ACC, ACCT MVP and finalist for a number of other national awards. Averaging 16.3 points and 8.3 boards a game, she was the lynchpin that held the team together at moments throughout the season. It would seem a no-brainer that she’ll make the final cut to rep the USA.
Brown-Turner took a HUGE step forward last season. AP All-American Honorable Mention, First Team All-ACC and started every game for the Wolfpack. Back to back 20+ point games put her into the ACC Player of the Week spotlight, finishing the season averaging 13.5 points and 5 boards.
Team USA is coached by South Carolina’s Dawn Staley, who is very familiar with what Cunane and Brown-Turner can do. The 2021 FIBA AmeriCup plays from June 11-19, with the top four finishers competing in the 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament.
Making it three State players playing for Team USA is Diamond Johnson. The recent transfer was selected for the USA U19 World Cup Team. The World Cup runs from August 7th to 15th.
Team USA is in the current group Italy, Australia and Egypt. Since 1997, the U19 team has been at least top three every year with eight world titles.