UTSports article on Americup trials with Jewel and Rickea


Eric TrainerWomen's BasketballMay 10, 2023

Previously, Tennessee's Rickea Jackson was announced as an invitee for the 2023 USA Women's AmeriCup Team trials May 11-15 in Colorado Springs. She'll now have a brand-new Lady Vol teammate alongside her, as recent transfer addition Jewel Spear also earned an opportunity to compete for a spot on the squad.

They are among 22 athletes expected to participate in the trials, as the USA prepares for the 2023 FIBA Women's AmeriCup, set for July 1-9 in Leon, Mexico.

Players attending the AmeriCup Team trials were selected by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by DePaul University head women's basketball coach Doug Bruno, in collaboration with Jen Rizzotti, Connecticut Sun president and chair of the USA Basketball Women's National Team Committee.

Trials will be run by AmeriCup coaches Kamie Ethridge (Washington State University), Katrina Merriweather (University of Cincinnati) and Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State University).

"I want to thank the committee members for their efforts in putting together such a quality group of invitees for the 2023 USA AmeriCup Team trials," Bruno said. "Trials will be a fun and challenging experience for each of these athletes, and 12 of these exceptional young athletes will depart Colorado Springs ready to embrace the challenges of international competition, where the USA will face the very best from FIBA Americas."

The trials roster features five athletes who have claimed a combined seven gold medals as members of various USA Basketball teams. Janiah Barker is a gold medalist at the 2019 FIBA U16 Americas Championship and 2021 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup. Lauren Betts was a member of the 2019 U16 National Team and added a second gold at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup alongside Jewel Spear. Rickea Jackson secured gold at the 2019 3x3 U18 World Cup, while Charisma Osborne earned the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup title.

"I appreciate the committee's efforts to invite such a competitive and talented group of athletes to the AmeriCup trials," Ethridge said. "I want to thank each and every player for choosing to come to trials and represent USA Basketball. We are well represented in every position with versatility, athleticism and unique skills that will allow us to adjust to the many different styles of play we may face during the competition. I am confident by the end of trials we will field a team that will proudly represent our country."

Spear's previous USA Basketball experience includes the U19 event listed above, as well as playing in the 2019 USA 3x3 U18 National Championship and participation in the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team trials.

A two-time All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament Team honoree during her three seasons at Wake Forest, she started 88 of 89 games, including a career-high 32 in 2022-23. Spear averaged 15.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists over 33.5 minutes per contest, tallying 1,385 points and 241 three-pointers and hitting 39.2 percent on field goals, 36.7 percent on threes and 82.7 percent from the free-throw line.

In 2022-23, Spear averaged 16.5 points. 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest, leading the Demon Deacons in scoring and ranking fifth in the ACC in points per game. She connected at a 37.7 percent clip from the field, a 35.4 percent rate beyond the three-point arc and a career-topping 83.9 percent pace on free throws. Her percentages from three-point land and the charity stripe stood at No. 2 and No. 4 in the ACC, respectively. Her 2.8 three-pointers per contest ranked No. 2 in the league as well.

Spear finished with a career-best 93 three-pointers as a junior, racking up the No. 2 season total in school history after firing in 90 treys as a sophomore. During that 2021-22 campaign, she became the first second-year performer to lead the ACC in scoring since 2011-12 at 18.3 ppg. She also set the school single-game record for most three-pointers made (10) and carded the school's No. 2 all-time point total with 40 vs. ETSU.

Jackson, a rising super senior at Tennessee, earned all-tournament team honors and finished second on the squad in scoring on the previously-mentioned victorious 2019 USA 3X U18 team. She also was a finalist for the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team and competed in the U16 National Team trials in 2017.

Last season, she produced 19.2 ppg., 6.1 rpg. and 1.4 apg. in 28.3 minutes per contest in her first season on Rocky Top, earning All-SEC First Team accolades and collecting All-American honorable mention acclaim from the WBCA, USBWA and Associated Press. She also made the SEC All-Tournament Team and was a Cheryl Miller Award top-five finalist after helping guide Tennessee to the SEC Tournament championship game and to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Jackson shot career bests of 54.8 percent from the field and 79.2 percent from the free-throw line. She wound up No. 3 in scoring, No. 4 in field goal percentage, No. 5 in free throw percentage and No. 15 in rebounding in the SEC.

Jackson accumulated 16 games with 20 points or more, ranking No. 9 at UT for both season and career totals, and she had four double-doubles. She logged eight straight contests of 20+ points, surpassing seven-game efforts by Candace Parker (2006-07) and Bridgette Gordon (1987-88). The only Lady Vol with more consecutive 20+ point performances in a row is four-time All-American Chamique Holdsclaw, who strung nine together in 1997-98.

Following selection of the 2023 USA Women's AmeriCup Team, athletes will return to Colorado Springs for training camp in June.

Since the event's inception in 1993, the United States has captured four AmeriCup gold medals, including titles in 2019 and 2021. In addition to the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will participate in the 2023 FIBA AmeriCup. The draw is set to take place May 10.
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Head Coach: Kamie Ethridge (Washington State University)
Assistant Coach: Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State University)
Assistant Coach: Katrina Merriweather (University of Cincinnati

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