Meet the U.S Women’s Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball Team

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By TheWeek

With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic set for August 24th, we can now present the selected women’s Paralympic team that is hoping to secure a consecutive gold medal in the Paralympic category of wheelchair basketball.

This U.S team is stripped back from that which represented in the Paralympics back in 2016, with only three players making a return.

There are six new players that come in from the 2019 Parapan American Games, they were part of a silver winning team that also has experience from the world championship 2018.

Head Coach for the U.S team, Trooper Johnson stated in a press release that this had been a long process getting to the Paralympics this year.

“It’s taken a while to come round for obvious reasons, but we are all excited that it has finally arrived, and we are super happy with the shape these athletes are in. We have a younger team this year with plenty of potential that will develop for many years to come. In the time we’ve had to assemble, they have done a fantastic job and we all feel ready to defend the gold medal we got from Rio.”

This will be Johnson’s first Paralympic Games as U.S head coach as he makes his step up from being assistant back in Rio. He took over in 2017 leading the women’s team to silver in the America’s Cup and again in the 2019 Parapan American Games.  

We now present the 12 athletes that have been selected to represent the United States of America in Tokyo and each one of them looking to retain the gold.

Jose Aslakson

From Jordan, Minnesota, 25-year-old Aslakson has been part of the U.S team since 2017. She began playing basketball since the age of 13 and was part of the University of Texas-Arlington team. She attended the NY University prior to playing her last season at Arizona University. The Wildcats coach at the time was teammate Courtney Ryan.

Abby Bauleke

Bauleke is one of the team’s newcomers. This will be her first senior tournament and Paralympic Games. She comes into the team with Under-25 world championship credentials, having won gold in the tournament of 2019. Bauleke will turn 20 in July and plays for Alabama University.

Kaitlyn Eaton

Eaton started her career in the US team back in 2017, having taken part in the America’s Cup. She also played her role in the team that finished sixth during the 2018 world championship. She is currently doing a master’s degree in healthcare and social work. The native of Houston will turn 27 prior to the games.

Ixhelt Gonzalez

Gonzalez is the youngest member at 17. She has been competing since the 2019 Under-25 world championships. From Chicago, she was inspired to play basketball after watching her brother play the sport with cerebral palsy. Gonzalez also enjoys wheelchair softball.

Rose Hollermann

Hollermann is one of the three returning Paralympians, making it a third time at the Games for her. Still only 25 years of age, Hollermann has been on the national team since 2011. Coming from Minnesota, she played in the University of Texas -Arlington and was the U.S team’s flag bearer during the closing of the Parapan American Games ceremony.

Darlene Hunter

Hunter is one of two co-captains within the national team. This will be her third Paralympic Games. At the age of 39, Hunter has been part of the national team since 2010 which, at the time, a championship-winning squad.  She went to Arizona college and currently resides in Dallas where she coaches the wheelchair basketball team The Lady Mavericks.

Ali Ibanez

Ibanez debuted for the national team in 2018, taking part in the world championships at the time. She discovered the game at the age of 13 after watching the Utah Rush go through their practice and warmups. She would later join the team which much success. Ibanez currently studies graphic design at the University of Illinois.

Bailey Moody

Moody is another of the young rising stars of the team. At 19, Moody comes from Georgia and started playing basketball in 2014. In 2018, Moody would make her U.S debut at the world championships. When competing domestically, she plays for the University of Alabama.

Courtney Ryan

Co-founder of the team PossAbilities Shield Maidens a women’s basketball team from Los Angeles, the 31-year-old comes with plenty of pedigree having made her debut in the 2014 world championships. She is also the assistant coach at the University of Arizona.

Natalie Schneider

Making a fourth appearance at the Paralympics, Schneider is co-captain alongside Hunter. At 37 years of age, Schneider helped the U.S Team reach gold during the games in Beijing in 2018. She also recorded a world championship in 2010. Her debut for the team started back in 2008 having transitioned from volleyball to basketball.

Zoe Voris

Having debuted in 2017 during the America’s Cup, this is Voris’s second national team appearance. She is currently studying a major in fine arts at the University of Texas-Arlington. She plays for the team Lady Movin’ Mavs. (Currently without an official team photo).

Lindsey Zurbrugg

In 2017 during the America’s Cup, Zurbrugg made her U.S debut. At the time, she was a student at Wisconsin-Whitewater University. Zurbrugg, now 22, played able-bodied basketball for six years before a back injury reveal she had a tethered spinal cord, something which she had since birth.