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League Partners with Meridian Winery to Host Celebratory Luncheon During WNBA All-Star Week in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Receive 2007 WNBA Inspiration Award

NEW YORK, July 10, 2007 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be the recipient of the 2007 WNBA Inspiration Award, WNBA President Donna Orender announced today.

Secretary Rice will receive the WNBA award, which recognizes an individual who inspires others through her commitment and dedication to work, family and community, at the league’s second annual All-Star Salute: Inspiring Women Luncheon presented by Meridian, on Friday, July 13 in Washington, D.C.

The Luncheon, for which the league has partnered with Meridian winery to host more than 300 prominent people in politics, business, entertainment and sports, is part of the All-Star festivities, which culminate with the 2007 WNBA All-Star Game on Sunday, July 15, 3:30 pm ET and televised by ABC.

"Whether on the basketball court, the soccer field or the golfing greens, women athletes move our country forward with each play. They play an important role, as models for athletic success, but also as citizen ambassadors and mentors for so many young girls around the world who dare to dream of more,” said Secretary Rice. “I have no doubt that when history books tell the story of inspirational women, there will be tales of our women athletes and their teamwork, their leadership, their discipline and their perseverance."

“Inspiration is a powerful and emotional force that fans of all ages have,” said Orender. “The WNBA is about celebrating motivation and inspiration, and this season we wanted to recognize an outstanding individual who exhibits these traits and ignites the dreams and aspirations of women nationwide. Secretary Rice is the ultimate example of a positive role model to young people who strive to do great things, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize her accomplishments.”

Meridian will also host similar luncheons in select WNBA cities throughout the summer to honor inspiring women making significant impacts in their communities.

About Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Dr. Condoleezza Rice became Secretary of State on January 26, 2005. Prior to this, she was the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor, since January 2001.
In June 1999, she completed a 6-year tenure as Stanford University’s Provost, during which she was the institution's chief budget and academic officer. As Provost she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students.

As professor of political science, Dr. Rice has been on the Stanford faculty since 1981 and has won two of the highest teaching honors -- the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Born November 14, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama, she earned her bachelor's degree in political science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her master's from the University Of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, the University of Notre Dame in 1995, the National Defense University in 2002, the Mississippi College School of Law in 2003, the University of Louisville and Michigan State University in 2004, and Boston College in 2006. She resides in Washington, D.C.

About WNBA
At its core, the WNBA is about the game of basketball played at the highest level by the world’s top female players and delivered in a fun, affordable, family-oriented atmosphere. But the power and the essence of the league extends far beyond the arena as the WNBA also promotes the inspirational efforts of those who believe in and support women through its series of “Inspiring Women” events that recognize uniquely inspirational women at the local level.

Now in its second decade of play, the WNBA features comprehensive national television coverage. ESPN2 and ABC will combine to televise up to 36 games nationally during the 2007 regular season and playoffs. Highlighting ESPN2’s 16 regular season telecasts is the second straight year of “WNBA Tuesdays”, which includes 5 doubleheaders and WNBA action on 11 of 14 Tuesday nights in-season. NBA TV will complement ABC and ESPN2's coverage by televising 70 regular season and up to nine playoff games.

In 2006, the WNBA concluded its historic tenth season with an action-packed WNBA Playoffs. The 2006 WNBA Finals capped a playoff run in which the WNBA saw significant increases in attendance and viewership. The Finals, which aired live on ESPN2, saw the Detroit Shock top the Sacramento Monarchs in the first WNBA Finals match up ever to go to a fifth and deciding game.

About Meridian
Since 1988, Meridian has been synonymous with great-tasting, award-winning wines. The winery produces vibrant, fruit-driven wines from some of the best vineyards in California, and Meridian wines have won more than 200 gold medals since 1991. For more information, please visit www.meridianvineyards.com.

Condoleezza Rice will be honored with the 2007 WNBA Inspiration Award at All-Star Weekend in Washington.
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