KANSAS CITY, Mo. — USA Basketball will send 12 of the best girls' basketball players in the country to the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in August, including two with roots in the Kansas City area.
Grace Slaughter of Grain Valley and Jada Williams of Blue Springs were each chosen Friday for the USA Women's U16 National Team, which will play for an international championship Aug. 16-22 in Santiago, Chile.
“To go to Chile and be able to wear the USA across my chest, I'm just really grateful and really excited for this opportunity,” said Slaughter, who was a finalist for the 2021 DiRenna Award as the top high school player in Kansas City.
Both Slaughter and Williams, who just finished their sophomore seasons, said the feat hadn’t really sunk in yet amid hectic travel schedules.
“It's such an honor to be able to represent my country overseas and just try to win the gold medal,” Williams, who has committed to UCLA, said on Zoom. “That's really one of our goals is to just put Kansas City on the map."
The pair received invites to USA Basketball team camp back in 2019, but neither made the final roster.
Williams described the emotions of making the cut this time around as a mix of "joy and relief."
Slaughter, a Mizzou commit who averaged 27.3 points per game last season, added: “Me and Jada have grown up together. ... We’ve played with each other and against each other. I think it is just so cool that we get to represent KCMO together.”
The top four team at the FIBA Americas U16 tourney earn invitations to the 2022 FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary.