-- WNBA.com Special Feature Includes Top Players, Fans Sharing Stories --

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2009 – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and its teams will celebrate the 23rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) throughout the first week of February. Fitness clinics and workshops will be conducted in WNBA cities across the country to help lead, inspire and create positive change in the lives of women and young girls. In addition, WNBA.com will devote a special section, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 4, where top WNBA players and fans can share stories on how sports have impacted their lives.

The National Girls and Women in Sports Day initiative was first chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1986. It honors female athletic achievement and recognizes the positive influence of sports participation for girls and women.

“WNBA players are strong, passionate and determined young women who have developed these leadership traits both on and off-the-court by dedicating themselves to sports,” said WNBA President Donna Orender “As a result, we are true believers in the significance of participation in sports for all girls and women and we are thrilled to recognize and celebrate this special day.”

Below is a list of select WNBA events taking place in support of NGWSD:

Indiana Fever: Head Coach Lin Dunn will serve as a Keynote Speaker at the NFHS National Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon where she will discuss the impact of women’s sports in today’s world. The event, taking place at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 11:30am ET, will also recognize local female athletes for their accomplishments on and off-the-court.

Atlanta Dream: On Saturday, Feb. 7, the Atlanta Dream and Ladys, Inc. will host a clinic at Carrollton (Ga.) High School to teach nearly 100 young girls strength, endurance and flexibility techniques and tips for improving their body, mind and athletic performance. In addition, Dream players will speak at events during the week, including the Girls and Women in Sport Night at Kennesaw State University and the GoGirlGo! event at Panola Way Elementary.

Connecticut Sun: To support NGWDS, the Sun are asking fans in Grade 4-8 to submit a one-page essay on their favorite female athlete. The grand prize winner will receive an exclusive school visit from a Sun player, recognition at a preseason game in May, and have their essay posted on www.connecticutsun.com.

Los Angeles Sparks: On Saturday, Feb. 7, the Los Angeles Sparks will hold a community event in Los Angeles for 75 girls ages 12 to 15, including a basketball clinic with Head Coach Michael Cooper and an empowerment session focusing on three hot topics with dynamic speakers: the importance of focus and dedication, why grades are important, and what it means to be a woman and a leader.

Seattle Storm: The Seattle Storm will host a special National Girls and Women in Sports Day Essay contest beginning on Feb. 4-Feb. 28. Fans will be asked to write how girls and women’s athletics have impacted their lives. The grand prize winner will receive four tickets to the Storm’s May 21 pre-season game; one personalized or player jersey of the winners choice; one $150 gift certificate for Storm merchandise and pre-game recognition at the attending game. For more information on the contest, visit www.storm.wnba.com.

Washington Mystics: The Mystics and the University of Maryland have partnered to celebrate a night of inspiration for young women on Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Comcast Center. National sports luminaries, including Debbie Yow, Maryland Athletic Director; Cat Whitehill, Washington Freedom defender; Vicky Bullet, Mystics assistant coach: Angela Taylor, Mystics GM; and Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, track star and Olympic Gold Medalist, will be on hand to discuss both the impact sports has played on their lives and the importance of young females getting involved in sports.