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Women's National Team

America's Cup 2017

Recent Women's National Team News

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – Three returning U.S. Paralympic gold medalists will highlight the roster of 12 athletes that will represent the United States at the 2017 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation America’s Zonal Qualifier, set for Cali, Colombia, August 21-30. Leading the team is two-time Paralympian Desi Miller of Monroe, Washington, who was a significant contributor to the gold-medal performance in Rio. Miller, a three-time Para Pan American gold medalist, has also played on two World Championships teams, winning the gold in 2010. 

This is the first major event for Team USA as they start the roll towards the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Team USA must place in the top four at the America’s Qualifier, in order to compete at the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. The 2019 Para Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, is the other major event for Team USA.

Also making the America’s Zonal team, were Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, and Vanessa Erskine of Kearney, Missouri. Dunkin a student-athlete at the University of Texas at Arlington, also was a member of the gold-medal winning 2015 Para Pan Am Games team. Erskine, a two-time College National Champion for the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, currently plays professional wheelchair basketball in Germany.

Dunkin will be joined by two other athletes who currently play for the University of Texas at Arlington. They are Josie Aslakson of Jordan, Minnesota; and Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, Tennessee.

The University of Alabama is represented by Emily Oberst of Brookefield, Wisconsin, and Brittany Gustafson of Monticello, Minnesota. Miller also graduated from the University of Alabama. Shelby Gruss of Ossian, Indiana, was selected and plays for the University of Illinois.

In addition to Erskine, Lindsay Zurbrugg of Portland, Oregon, has made the cut and attends the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Sarah Heinzl of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is on the roster of 12 and attends the University of Arizona.

The depth of women’s wheelchair basketball in the United States is prevalent as two high school athletes were selected: Riley Ljungdahl of Longmont, Colorado; and Zoe Voris of Crown Point, Indiana.

NWBA Hall of Famer Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California, will serve as the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach. Johnson, a 15-time U.S. Men’s National Team member and two-time Paralympic medalist, will be assisted by Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. Athletic Trainer Karla Wessels of Lexington, Kentucky, and Team Leader Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado, return for a second term.

The U.S. Women’s returned to the top of the podium at the Rio Paralympics, marking the third Paralympic gold medal in the last four Paralympics Games (2004, 2008, and 2016). The U.S. Women’s team dominated the field in Rio going undefeated, 7-0, and maintains the medal count lead with seven Paralympic medals, including four gold medals.

Last summer, Team USA led six statistical categories over the seven-game stretch at the Rio Paralympics. It is the third time that the United States has gone undefeated at the Paralympics, en route to the gold medal. Team USA led shooting percentage at 53.8 percent; points for at 505 points (72.1/game); assists with 178 (25.4/game); fouls with 55; and the least turnovers at 61 (8.7/game). The United States was second in points against with 42.3 per game.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The NWBA announced its 2017 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team on Wednesday, following a three-day selection camp at the Olympic Training Center. Leading Team USA towards the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation America’s Zonal Qualifier this summer will be three returning 2016 Paralympic gold medalists. The final selection of 12 athletes for the America’s Qualifier will occur later this summer. 

Rolling the team of 16 athletes towards the Tokyo Paralympics is two-time U.S. Paralympian Desi Miller of Monroe, Washington, who was a significant contributor to the gold-medal success in Rio. Miller, a three-time Para Pan Am gold medalists, has also played on two World Championships teams, winning the gold in 2010.

Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, and Vanessa Erskine of Kearney, Missouri, begin their journey towards Tokyo 2020. Dunkin a student-athlete at the University of Texas at Arlington, also was a member of the gold-medal winning 2015 Para Pan Am Games team. Erskine, a two-time College National Champion for the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, currently plays professional wheelchair basketball in Germany.

The path to Tokyo for wheelchair basketball starts in 2017 with the America’s Zonal Qualifying tournament, where Team USA must place in the top four to qualify for the 2018 World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. In 2019, the U.S. Team will compete at the Para Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. The quadrenium will roll to an end at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Dunkin will be joined by three other athletes who currently play for the University of Texas at Arlington. They are Josie Aslakson of Jordan, Minnesota; Molly Welfe of Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, Tennessee.

The University of Alabama is represented by Emily Oberst of Brookefield, Wisconsin, and Brittany Gustafson of Monticello, Minnesota. Miller also graduated from the University of Alabama.

Kaitlyn Eaton of Houston, Texas, and Shelby Gruss of Ossian, Indiana, were selected and play wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois.

In addition to Erskine, Lindsay Zurbrugg of Portland, Oregon, has made the cut and attends the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Sarah Heinzl of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is on the roster of 16 and attends the University of Arizona.

The depth of women’s wheelchair basketball in the United States is prevalent as four high school athletes were selected: Josie DeHart of Grand Junction, Colorado; Jordan Kozloski of Warner Robins, Georgia; Riley Ljungdahl of Longmont, Colorado; and Zoe Voris of Crown Point, Indiana.

NWBA Hall of Famer Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California, will serve as the U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach. Johnson, a 15-time U.S. Men’s National Team member and two-time Paralympic medalist, will be assisted by Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. Athletic Trainer Karla Wessels of Lexington, Kentucky, and Team Leader Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado, return for a second term.

“After three days of intense testing and evaluations, we are confident that we have selected the athletes with the best potential for growth and development leading into the new quad,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California. “This is a young team and our coaching staff is excited about the growth potential that is in front of us. We have confidence in this team, and it is starting to fall into place for another successful run to the podium in 2020.”

The U.S. Women’s returned to the top of the podium at the Rio Paralympics, marking the third Paralympic gold medal in the last four Paralympics Games (2004, 2008, and 2016). The U.S. Women’s team dominated the field in Rio going undefeated, 7-0, and maintains the medal count lead with seven Paralympic medals, including four gold medals.

Last summer, Team USA led six statistical categories over the seven-game stretch at the Rio Paralympics. It is the third time that the United States has gone undefeated at the Paralympics, en route to the gold medal. Team USA led shooting percentage at 53.8 percent; points for at 505 points (72.1/game); assists with 178 (25.4/game); fouls with 55; and the least turnovers at 61 (8.7/game). The United States was second in points against with 42.3 per game.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The NWBA announced Wednesday the U.S. Women’s National Team coaching staff for the 2017-2020 quadrennium. The coaching staff was selected by the NWBA High Performance Committee. NWBA Hall of Famer and Paralympian Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California, will take over the head coaching responsibilities for the next four years. The assistant coaches are 2016 U.S. Paralympic Games assistant coach Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. 

Johnson, the iconic symbol in the NWBA logo, served as the assistant coach of the U.S. Women’s National team from 2013-2016, which rolled to a gold-medal performance at the Rio Paralympic Games. Professionally, Johnson is the Sports Program Coordinator for the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program in California, which includes being the head coach of the Junior Road Warriors Wheelchair Basketball Team. He was the 2013 U.S. Men’s U23 assistant coach, and the head coach of the 2013 U.S. Women’s U21, that won a gold at the Junior ParaPan American Games in Argentina.

As an athlete, Johnson is the only U.S. player to compete on 15 National Teams (1990-2004), and is widely acknowledged as the most prolific three-point shooter in NWBA history. His shooting accuracy led Team USA to the top of the medal platform for a total of nine gold medals and one silver medal. He also has two bronze medals as an athlete at the 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games, and was a member of the 1992 and 2004 U.S. Paralympic teams.

“Being a part of the NWBA program has been a huge part of my life and I am extremely excited for the opportunity to lead the team over the next four years,” said Johnson. “We have so much talent here in the United States and I am confident that we will be able to develop the team over the next few years to be back on the podium in Tokyo.”

Spangler returns to the Women’s National Team sidelines for the third time in her career, having served as the U.S. Women’s assistant coach on two prior gold-medal winning teams (2004 and 2016). She has coached the NWBA’s Junior Varsity Mad City Badgers of Madison, Wisconsin, for the last 11 years, winning the NWBT Junior Varsity National Title in 2005. She has been a camp coach for the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater from 1995-2001 and University of Illinois from 1998-2001.

Kramer is the newest addition to the NWBA National Team coaching bench. He has served in a variety of posts in recent years as a member of the 2012 U23 Selection Committee, 2013 and 2015 U.S. Women’s Team Selection Committee and 2014 U.S. Men’s Team Selection Committee. He was also a coach at the 2014 and 2016 Women’s Developmental Camps. Kramer has been a NWBA coach for the NEDSRA/Synergy Bulls for the last six years, including a fourth-place finish at the 2011 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in the Junior Prep division. He has also been a coach for the University of Alabama wheelchair basketball team.

The U.S. Women’s returned to the top of the podium at the Rio Paralympics, marking the third Paralympic gold medal in the last four Paralympics Games (2004, 2008, and 2016). The U.S. Women’s team dominated the field in Rio going undefeated, 7-0, and maintains the medal count lead with seven Paralympic medals, including four gold medals.

“I believe our strength as a team comes directly from our preparation. We will be using all of the resources available to the team through the NWBA High Performance Program to squeeze every bit of athletic ability out of each athlete and help them reach their athletic potential,” said Johnson. “We want the athletes feeling confident in their roles and want them to go play the sport that they love, and have a blast doing it. I think when that happens, success will follow.”

Last summer, Team USA led six statistical categories over the seven-game stretch. It is the third time that the United States has gone undefeated at the Paralympics, en route to the gold medal. Team USA led shooting percentage at 53.8 percent; points for at 505 points (72.1/game); assists with 178 (25.4/game); fouls with 55; and the least turnovers at 61 (8.7/game). The United States was second in points against with 42.3 per game.