Three Gamecocks players to vie for berths on U.S. women’s national teams

USC players Tiffany Mitchell (far right) and A'ja Wilson (center) will vie for spots on U.S. women's national teams, one of which will coached by Dawn Staley (left). (Paul Zoeller/Staff)

COLUMBIA — Head coach Dawn Staley may not be the only member of the South Carolina women’s basketball team representing the United States in international play this summer.

Three members of USC’s Final Four team will participate in tryouts for various national teams, according to the school. Junior Tiffany Mitchell and sophomore Alaina Coates will vie for spots on both the Pan-American Games and World University Games squads, while freshman A’ja Wilson will compete for a position on the Under-19 World Championships team on which Staley will serve as head coach.

The trio were part of a South Carolina team which complied the best season in school history, a 34-3 campaign which resulted in the program’s first Final Four berth. All the national team trials will be held May 14-17 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Mitchell, a first-team All-American and a two-time SEC Player of the Year, led USC in scoring this past season, averaging 14.4 points per game. Wilson, a third-team All-American and SEC Freshman of the Year, was second in scoring at 13.1 and added 6.6 rebounds per game. Coates, named second-team All-SEC, led USC with 7.9 rebounds per contest.

Mitchell and Coates will be among 54 players vying for 12 spots on the Pan-Am and World University Games teams, both of which are comprised of U.S. citizens enrolled in college with eligibility remaining for next season. The Pan-Am Games will take place in Toronto from July 16-20, while the World University Games are scheduled for July 4-13 in South Korea.

Wilson will be one of 34 players competing for 16 spots on the Under-19 World Championships team, which will compete in Chekhov, Russia, from July 18-26. Since she has completed her freshman year of college, Wilson may also be considered for the Pan-Am and World University Games teams.

Mitchell and Wilson have competed internationally before. Mitchell has also spent the past several days in Las Vegas training with the U.S. women’s national team, on which Staley will be an assistant coach for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.