PISCATAWAY, N.J. (September 27, 2011) – Rutgers women’s basketball senior April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.) has been named as one of 12-members of the 2011 Women’s Pan American Games Team, as announced by USA Basketball on Tuesday.
The squad looks to defend USA’s 2007 Pan American Games gold medal when it hits the hardwood on Oct. 21-25 in Guadalajara, Mexico for the 2011 Pan American Games.
Sykes joins 10 college athletes and one high school senior on the U.S. roster, as selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. The group will look to the leadership of USA head coach Ceal Barry and assistants Jennifer Gillom and Debbie Ryan to return them to the gold.
The U.S. team opens practice on Oct. 15 with an evening practice in Houston, Texas and continues with two practices on Oct. 16 and 17. A morning practice on Oct. 18 will be followed by the team’s departure for Mexico. The squad will log a pair of practices before competition begins on Oct. 21.
Sykes stands as one of three members of the USA team that has prior USA Basketball experience. The Starkville, Miss. native was one of 14 finalists for the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team.
Sykes, a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection in 2011, enjoyed a breakout junior campaign in which she appeared in all 33 games, averaging 14.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. She had a team-best 24 double-figure scoring games, including topping the 20-point mark in seven contests. Sykes scored a career-high 32 points against Boston College, giving the Scarlet Knights their first 30-point scorer in three seasons.
The draw for the 2011 Pan American Games women’s basketball competition took place on June 27, and the U.S. women will play in preliminary round Group A, along with Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico; while Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Jamaica comprise Group B. Preliminary round play for the women's basketball competition runs Oct. 21, 22 and 23, with the semifinals on Oct. 24, and the finals on Oct. 25.
The Pan American Games are a multi-sport competition held every four years (2011, 2015, etc.) in the year preceding the Olympics. Organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), the Games are open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Overall, the USA women in Pan American Games competitions have won seven of 14 gold medals, as well as four silver and two bronze medals, compiling a 72-12 overall record.
Former players of note that have competed in the Pan American Games include: Jennifer Azzi (1991); Cynthia Cooper (1987); Anne Donovan (1983 and 1987); Teresa Edwards (1987 and 1991); Pat Head Summitt (1975); Nancy Lieberman (1975 and 1979); Katrina McClain (1987 and 1991); Angel McCoughtry (2007); Carla McGhee (1995); Ann Meyers (1975 and 1979); Cheryl Miller (1983); Dawn Staley (1995); Sheryl Swoopes (1995); and Candice Wiggins (2007).