NEW YORK, NY, July 10, 2002 – The Women’s National Basketball Association and The White House Project will join forces on Capitol Hill, Monday, July 15, to recognize the importance of sports in developing leadership ability in girls and women. Several activities are scheduled for the day including a press conference, led by WNBA President Val Ackerman, White House Project President Marie C. Wilson and Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who spearheaded the effort to create Women’s Leadership Through Sports Day. The conference will be held on the front steps of the Cannon House Office Building at 2 p.m. ET.

"Leadership requires working together, facing challenges, and intense effort – many of the same skills required by competitive athletics," DeLauro said. "The women of the WNBA are role models to young girls who aspire to great things, and we need more like them. We are a stronger nation when we develop every person's talents, and that starts at a young age."

The fourth annual WNBA All-Star Game, airing on ESPN, features the world’s best women basketball players and takes place at the MCI Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“The WNBA is the ultimate example of the role of sports in developing young girls as leaders,” said Ackerman. “WNBA players are strong, passionate and determined individuals who exhibit these traits both on the court and off. As a result, we are true believers in the significance of participation in sports for all girls and women.”

White House Project President Wilson will join Ackerman and DeLauro on the Hill to discuss The White House Project’s efforts to advance women’s leadership and the impact the tremendous growth in women’s sports has had on all women.

“Participation in competitive sports teaches leadership. Through sports, girls hone their skills in ways that boys have for generations when they learn about winning, losing and how to play the game,” Wilson said.

To tip off the day, the WNBA and The White House Project will host 14 girls who participate in Jr. WNBA recreational youth basketball leagues from the Washington, DC area. The girls will shadow high-level congressional staffers from the offices of female Members of Congress, and get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the workings of Congress to better understand the role of women in helping run our country. The program begins at 10 a.m. ET and concludes at the start of the press conference at 2 p.m. ET.

Members of Congress and the Jr. WNBA girls will reunite later that evening at the MCI Center for a night filled with excitement and festivities beginning with a special reception hosted by the WNBA at 6 p.m. ET and followed by the WNBA All-Star Game at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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The White House Project is a national non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing women’s leadership by enhancing public perceptions of women’s capacity to lead and fostering the entry of women into positions of leadership, including the U.S. presidency. The White House Project achieves these goals through research, public education campaigns, forums to heighten women’s visibility and measures to influence popular culture. For more information, visit our web site at www.thewhitehouseproject.org.

The Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA, presented by Gatorade and Nike, is a support organization for recreational youth basketball leagues in the United States, Canada and abroad that provides programs designed to connect players, parents and coaches in an effort to heighten awareness and participation in youth basketball.