NEW YORK, July 22 –
The first five reserves for the team of WNBA All-Stars that will take on the U.S. National Team on August 5 for “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” were announced this evening during halftime of ESPN2’s coverage of the Minnesota Lynx at the Connecticut Sun.
Becky Hammon, New York Liberty|
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
Head coaches of the 13 WNBA teams selected New York guard Becky Hammon, Detroit guard Deanna Nolan, Charlotte forward Allison Feaster, Los Angeles forward Mwadi Mabika and Indiana center Natalie Williams to join the WNBA All-Star squad, which will be coached by Detroit Head Coach Bill Laimbeer and his staff. Detroit center Ruth Riley was originally selected as the reserve center, but she was later named to the U.S. National Team as a replacement for the injured DeLisha Milton-Jones.
For the first time, fans from around the world will select the final player on the WNBA All-Star roster through balloting conducted on WNBA.com’s new, comprehensive section devoted to the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City.” Balloting will begin Thursday evening, July 22, and the final reserve will be announced on-air during coverage of the Los Angeles at Sacramento game on July 29 on ESPN2.
WNBA.com’s coverage of the game will also include extensive photo galleries, WNBA All-Star history section, game video highlights, chats with players and coaches and more.
“WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” will serve as the domestic send-off for the U.S. National Team as it continues its preparations for Athens. ESPN will televise the game nationally, on Thursday, August 5 at 7 p.m.
A panel of local and national media selected Phoenix Mercury guard Anna DeForge, Los Angeles Sparks guard Nikki Teasley, Connecticut Sun forward Nykesha Sales, Detroit Shock forward Cheryl Ford and Connecticut Sun center Taj McWilliams-Franklin to the WNBA team’s starting lineup last Thursday.
Tickets to the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” can be purchased by calling 1-877-WNBA-TIX, logging on to WNBA.com, or through ticketmaster outlets in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and ticketmaster.com.
The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team roster is comprised of Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs), Shannon Johnson (San Antonio Silver Stars), Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks), DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks), Katie Smith (Minnesota Lynx), Dawn Staley (Charlotte Sting), Sheryl Swoopes (Houston), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets).
The head coach of the U.S. team is Houston Comets Head Coach Van Chancellor. He will be joined on the sidelines by Seattle Storm Head Coach Anne Donovan, Duke Head Coach Gail Goestenkors and Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer.
The U.S. capped a successful spring training schedule with an unblemished 13-0 record in its early preparations for Athens. Featuring three separate training sessions, the USA's competition ranged from national and professional club teams to the 2004 WBCA All-Star Team, with games played in six international arenas and four domestic cities.
Ratings for ABC’s and ESPN2’s telecasts of WNBA games are up 29 and 35 percent respectively from a year ago. The season-opening telecast featuring the Phoenix Mercury at the Connecticut Sun was the highest rated WNBA game (regular season or playoffs) ever on ABC, and the July 11 telecast featuring the Mercury at the New York Liberty was the highest rated WNBA regular season game ever on ESPN2.