Smith Selected As One Of Seven Core Players For USA Basketball

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Oct. 8, 2003 USA Basketball announced today that Lynx guard Katie Smith has been selected as one of the seven players named as core members for the 2004 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team, which is expected to represent the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games. The first seven members of the eventual 12-member USA squad were selected by the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee, chaired by WNBA Vice President of Player Personnel Renee Brown.

Smith, a member of the 2000 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic team, will be joined by Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Shannon Johnson (Connecticut Sun), Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks), Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets) as the seven core members.

"I'm excited," said Smith. "Obviously, I have a history with USA Basketball and when I was asked, I was ready to play. Whenever you have the chance to represent your country, it's an honor and one I wasn't about to turn down. I'm looking forward to going out and continuing our gold medal ways, as well as playing with a lot of the players from the past few summers."

Smith won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. women's basketball team (9-0) at the 2002 FIBA World Championships in the People's Republic of China. The 5-11 guard started all nine contests and finished fifth on the team in scoring (6.0 ppg), second (tie) in three-point field goals (12) and fourth in assists (15). At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Smith topped the United States in three-point field goal percentage (60.0%, 12-for-20) and three-pointers (12), and ranked fifth in scoring (6.8 ppg) on 51.3% (20-for-39) shooting from the field. She tied three Olympic records against Cuba on Sept. 18, 2000: highest field goal percentage (100.0%, 6-for-6), three-pointers made (three) and highest three-point field goal percentage (100.0%, 3-for-3). Smith has won a total of seven medals while playing on USA Basketball teams.

Smith, the all-time leading scorer in the history of women's U.S. professional basketball (WNBA/ABL) with 4,298 points, led the Lynx (for the fourth consecutive season) and finished fifth in the WNBA in scoring with 18.2 ppg during the 2003 WNBA campaign. The 5-11 guard started all 34 contests and established career highs in field goal accuracy (45.7%), three-point field goal percentage (39.0%) and rebounding (4.1 rpg). She also ranked sixth in the WNBA in minutes (34.9 mpg) and seventh in free throw percentage (88.1%). In July, Smith played in her fourth consecutive WNBA All-Star Game.

Smith established several milestones during the 2003 WNBA campaign. She became the first player in the history of U.S. women's professional basketball (WNBA/ABL) to eclipse the 4,000-point plateau when she scored a season-high 34 points on July 10 vs. Connecticut. On July 1 at Houston, Smith, the league's fifth all-time leading scorer (2,867), became the second-fastest WNBA player (139 games) and seventh overall to tally 2,500 points.

Smith also tied WNBA single-game records for three-pointers made in a game (seven) and in a half (five) on June 14 at Seattle. She became the first player in WNBA history to reach 350 career three-pointers (July 26 at Indiana), and was the first to surpass 500 three-pointers in U.S. women's professional history (June 27 vs. Phoenix). She also established a WNBA-record string of 32 consecutive games with a made three-pointer (7/31/02 through 8/2/03). Following the season, Smith received her fourth consecutive All-WNBA honor.

Smith has been a member of USA Basketball teams in 2002, 2000, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995 and 1994, earning five gold medals and two silver medals.
Houston Comets head coach Van Chancellor will lead the U.S. in its defense of its No. 1 world ranking at the 2004 Olympics. The XXVIII Olympic Games will feature national teams from 12 nations competing Aug. 13-29 in Athens, Greece.

The United States owns a 34-3 overall record (91.9% winning percentage) in Olympic competition and has won a record four golds, one silver and one bronze medal in the six previous Olympic basketball competitions in which it has competed. The United States, which earned the silver medal at the inaugural Olympic women's basketball tournament in 1976, earned its first gold at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and captured its most recent gold with an unblemished 8-0 record in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

With the exception of host Greece and the United States, which earned its Olympic qualifying berth by virtue of its 2002 World Championship gold medal finish, teams are required to qualify through zone qualifying tournaments for the 2004 Olympics. Australia (Oceania #1) and New Zealand (Oceania #2) have earned their spots among the Athens competitors, as have Brazil (Americas #1), Russia (Europe #1), Czech Republic (Europe #2) and Spain (Europe #3). FIBA Africas will see its gold medalist advance to the Olympics following the Dec. 19-27 qualifying tournament, while the FIBA Asia tournament is scheduled for Jan. 13-19 and the three medalists will earn an Olympic berth.

The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee, which selected the first seven 2004 USA team members, consists of nine members and a non-voting chair. Brown serves as chair of the Committee, which includes Portland Fire Vice President of Business Operations Sandi Bittler; New York Liberty Senior Vice President and General Manager Carol Blazejowski; Indiana Fever Chief Operating Officer Kelly Krauskopf; Sacramento Monarchs General Manager Jerry Reynolds; Phoenix Mercury Vice President of Operations Seth Sulka; Los Angeles Sparks General Manager Penny Toler; and Stanford University head coach Tara VanDerveer, who piloted the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team to a gold medal. Serving as athlete representatives are Staley, 1996 and 2000 Olympic and 1998 World Championship gold medal winner; and Lynette Woodard, a 1984 Olympic and 1990 World Championship gold medalist.