July 16, 2009
PITTSBURGH — University of Pittsburgh rising sophomore Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson has been forced to withdraw from USA Basketball’s U19 squad due to injury after being named a finalist in late May.
Wilson (Pittsburgh, Pa./Westinghouse) earned 2009 Big East All-Freshman team honors and helped lead Pitt to its second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance in 2008-09. As a starter in her rookie season, Wilson finished the year second on the team in rebounding with 6.4 per game and led the team with 44 blocks on the year, while scoring 6.8 points per game.
Wilson participated in trials May 15-17 at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., as the group was cut from 27 participants to the 14 finalists. Prior to the final training camp which would determine the finalists, she withdrew her name following a minor knee surgery that revealed damage to articular cartilage in her left knee. With only one spot needing to be eliminated, as the result of another finalists’ injury and Wilson’s withdraw, each of the remaining finalists were named to the team that will compete later this month.
The U.S. is slated to open preliminary round play against Spain on July 23, followed by China on July 24 and Mali on July 25. The top three finishing teams in each preliminary round group will advance to the July 27-29 second round, the quarterfinals will be played on July 31, semifinal action is scheduled for Aug. 1 and the gold medal will be contested on Aug. 2.
The U19 FIBA World Championship features 16 national teams comprised of athletes 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1990) that qualified through their FIBA zone tournaments. Included in the field of nations are: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Lithuania, Mali, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Tunisia and the USA.
Wilson is out indefinitely, but is expected to make her return to the court in time for the start of fall practice.