After the Michigan women’s basketball team experienced its most successful season in program history, two of its stalwarts earned invitations to the 2017 USA Basketball Women's U23 National Team Training Camp.
Senior guard Katelynn Flaherty and junior center Hallie Thome will each compete in the camp to be apart of the 12-person roster that will ultimately play in the first-ever U23 Four Nations Tournament in Tokyo, Japan this summer. Among the 40 players named to the preliminary roster, Thome and Flaherty are two of four Big Ten players. Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State and Teniya Page of Penn State will also compete for roster spots.
Flaherty and Thome were each vital contributors to the Wolverines team that won the WNIT Tournament for the first time in program history.
Flaherty, invited to a USA Basketball trial for the third time in her career, led Michigan in scoring this past season. In the WNIT title game, she made multiple career-defining plays, nailing two game-tying threes in the double-overtime victory, and scoring 20 of her 27 points after halftime. For the season, Flaherty led the team in scoring at 20.2 points per game and was a unanimous selection by the coaches as a first-team all Big Ten player. Flaherty, a career 38 percent three-point shooter, could bring long-range shooting and leadership to the national roster.
Not to be outdone by her counterpart, Thome pitched in 25 points in the WNIT final. Thome averaged 7.1 rebounds per game and shot 61.3 percent from the field on the season, ranking in the top 10 in Big Ten in both categories. Thome was a model of consistency in her sophomore season, starting all 37 games and scoring in double figures in 35 of them. She became just the third sophomore in school history to reach 1,000 points. This is her first USA basketball invitation.
Thome and Flaherty are both coming off seasons in which they were named to the first team All-Big Ten and the WNIT All-Tournament team.
The inaugural tournament will include Australia, Canada and Japan, in addition to the United States. The round-robin style tournament will take place from August 12-15, and will feature exclusively college-aged athletes.
Both Thome and Flaherty figure to be crucial components of a team next season hungry to avenge what they perceived to be an NCAA Tournament snub. The appearance would have been the first in the program’s history.
But under the guidance of reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year Kim Barnes Arico, the program appears to be unequivocally headed in a positive direction. Flaherty and Thome's invitations are yet another example of the talent that is starting to stream into and develop inside the program.