Rizzotti Named USA Basketball National Coach of the Year
In recognition of an impressive, gold-medal performance at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, University of Hartford and 2011 USA U19 head coach Jennifer Rizzotti has been named the 2011 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year.
Rizzotti was officially presented with her USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award on Jan. 7 at Chase Arena, prior to the women’s basketball game against Vermont.
"It is an honor to be named the USA Basketball National Coach of the Year," Rizzotti said. "I had a great group of players and an extremely hard working staff that deserves equal credit. Our players worked really hard in a short amount of time to become not just the best players, but the best team in the U19 Championship. Joi Williams and Sue Semrau, my assistants, worked tirelessly to prepare for our opponents and help me keep perspective and balance throughout the tournament."
Compiling an 8-1 record from July 21-31 in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, Chile, the USA women stood atop the FIBA U19 World Championship podium for a fourth straight time at the event in 2011.
"Jen's leadership helped the USA U19 women's team improve each and every day of training, and even during each game of the tournament. It was impressive to watch the team's progress," said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. "USA Basketball is proud to recognize her efforts, and we are grateful for her commitment and dedication."
The U.S. opened preliminary round play with an 85-63 win over Japan, followed by a 76-53 victory against Russia and an 83-49 defeat of Argentina. In the second round, the USA downed China 80-77 and topped Italy 94-60 before falling to Canada 64-52. Rebounding with a 70-64 win over France in the quarterfinals, the USA beat Brazil 82-66 in the semifinals and Spain 69-46 in the gold medal game.
Topping opponents by an average of 16.6 ppg., the USA also built a +16.7 rebounding advantage, while the U.S. defense limited foes to just 60.2 ppg. and 33.2 percent shooting overall.
"I liked playing for coach Rizzotti because she was always intense and into the games, and even in practice she was intense," said USA U19 team member Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse H.S./North Syracuse, N.Y), who, along with the USA's Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook H.S./Bolingbrook, Ill.) was named to the five-person All-FIBA U19 World Championship Team. "I think she wanted to get the best out of us in the little time that we had together, and I really enjoyed playing for her."