USA Basketball Womens National Team Set To Travel To Russia For First Test
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 5, 2009) -- After training for six days in Washington, D.C., 2009-12 USA Basketball Women's National Team members and Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) will lead a USA squad in Russia in the four-team 2009 Ekaterinburg International Invitational. Also selected to play in the Oct. 9-11 tournament were USA National Team hopefuls Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), a 2004 Olympic gold medalist; Tina Charles (University of Connecticut / Jamaica, N.Y.); Shameka Christon (New York Liberty); Candice Dupree (Chicago Sky); Lindsey Harding (Washington Mystics); Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun); Crystal Langhorne (Washington Mystics); Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream); Renee Montgomery (Minnesota Lynx); and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx).
"We found out a lot about ourselves in the last six days," said USA and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma. "Some of these guys who are here didn't know me, I didn't know them. Now I'm anxious and I know these guys are anxious to go and see if what we know transfers over to games. I know we know how to practice and I know we know how to do drills. Now we're going to find out if we can take that, transfer it over to game situations and see if I can identify those players who know how to win."
In addition to the Russian professional team UMMC Ekaterinburg, also competing in the tournament will be Euroleague professional teams MKB Euroleasing Sopron from Hungary and USK Praha from the Czech Republic. The U.S. opens the round-robin tournament against USK Praha on Oct. 9, followed by Euroleasing Sopron on Oct. 10 and caps the tournament against host and 2009 EuoLeague third place finisher UMMC Ekaterinburg on Oct. 11.
The Sept. 30 - Oct. 5 training camp in Washington was the first step in the USA's preparations for the 2010 FIBA World Championship. In addition to the upcoming tournament in Ekaterinburg, the U.S. squad will train next spring (dates and site TBD) prior to gathering in September for the final training camp before the 2010 Worlds tip off on Sept. 23 in the Czech Republic. The 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game is scheduled to be played on Oct. 3, with the winner earning a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games.