COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Women's basketball fans across the country will have numerous opportunities to see the USA's best players together in action this fall, as the 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team takes on eight top collegiate teams in a barnstorming exhibition tour that will run from Oct. 31 through Nov. 15. The University of Tennessee will be the third stop on the tour on Nov. 4 at Thompson-Boling Arena and former Lady Vols Tamika Catchings (currently injured) and Michelle Snow are members of the USA squad on the tour.
The USA tips-off its 2007 College Tour on the East Coast with a Halloween game against the University of Maryland in College Park on Oct. 31, followed by the University of Connecticut in Storrs on Nov. 2. Heading south, the USA then takes on Tennessee in Knoxville on Nov. 4 before the 2007 USA College Tour begins to move west for a Nov. 6 contest against Baylor University in Waco, Texas. On Nov. 8 the USA will meet Arizona State University in Tempe, then return to the Lone Star State for a Nov. 11 match-up against Texas A&M University in College Station. Continuing west to California for its final two games, Nov. 13 will see the USA pitted against the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the USA concludes its tour on Nov. 15 at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.
Tickets for the 2007 USA College Tour will be available through each host school's athletic department.
"This is a great tour that USA Basketball has put together," said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan, a three-time U.S. Olympic Team member and assistant coach to the 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medal winning squad. "We're going to be playing against some of the top programs in the country and it's going to be a great opportunity for us to work on team chemistry, cohesiveness, and overall competitiveness. I think the most important thing is that this will be a rare chance for fans to see the USA Basketball Women's National Team up close and in person. It'll be an exciting time for some of our players who will be playing on their respective collegiate courts in front of their college fans for the first time in several years. I'm really excited about this tour and I know the fans at all these schools will come out to support both teams. They will definitely enjoy watching the games."
The 12-member 2007 USA Basketball Women's College Tour Team will be comprised of members of the 2007-08 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team. The 2007-08 USA squad lists a total of 22 players on its roster, including eight Olympic gold medalists, five World Championship gold medalists and all 12 members of the 2006 USA World Championship Team.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets) and two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith (Detroit Shock) were joined on the 2004 Athens Olympic gold medal podium by Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets); while DeLisha Milton-Jones (Washington Mystics) is a 2000 Olympic gold medalist. Additionally, Bird (2002), Catchings (2002), Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks / 1998), Milton-Jones (1998, 2002), Smith (1998, 2002) and Swoopes (2002) all won golds at FIBA World Championships; and Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), Bird, Cash, Catchings, Cheryl Ford (Detroit Shock), Candace Parker (University of Tennessee), Smith, Michelle Snow (Houston Comets), Swoopes, Taurasi and Thompson were all on the 2006 USA World Championship Team.
In addition to the previously named Olympians and World Championship participants, members of the 2007-08 USA Senior National Team include: Jessica Davenport (New York Liberty), Katie Douglas (Connecticut Sun), Sylvia Fowles (Louisiana State University), Lindsey Harding (Minnesota Lynx), Deanna Nolan (Detroit Shock), Courtney Paris (University of Oklahoma), Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury), and Lindsay Whalen (Connecticut Sun).
Should they be named to the 12-member 2007 USA College Tour Team, players who could compete in homecoming games include Bird, Cash and Taurasi at Connecticut; Catchings and Snow at Tennessee; Thompson at USC; while Parker will be going up against her USA teammates when the U.S. team competes in Knoxville. Additionally, Mystics fans might be able to catch Beard and Milton-Jones at Maryland; McWilliams-Franklin could be on hand for Sparks fans to see at the USC game; Pondexter and Tauarsi could play in front of Mercury fans at the ASU contest; while Douglas and Whalen could compete close enough in Storrs for their Suns fans to make a short in-state road trip.
Following the 2007 WNBA season, the USA Women's Senior National Team will reconvene Sept. 7 in New York to begin preparing for the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship. Slated for Sept. 25-29 in Valdivia, Chile, not only is a gold medal on the line at the tournament, the winner also will receive a berth in the 2008 Olympics. In addition to the USA, teams participating in the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship will be Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico. Should the United States not return home from Chile with the gold medal, there will be one final chance to qualify for the Olympics at the 2008 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament slated for June 9-15 at a site TBD.
During the USA's pre-FIBA Americas Championship training camp, the U.S., defending Olympic gold medalists, will take on 2006 World Championship gold medalist Australia in a pair of exhibition contests. The first will be held on Sept. 16 (1:00 p.m. EDT) in Trenton, N.J., and the squads will meet up again on Sept. 19 (7:00 p.m. EDT) at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
Donovan is being assisted by 2006 WNBA Coach of the Year Mike Thibault of the Connecticut Sun and collegiate head coaches Gail Goestenkors of the University of Texas and Temple University's (Pa.) Dawn Staley. During the USA's 2007 College Tour, Goestenkors and Staley will be coaching their respective teams and will not be on the USA's sidelines.