NEW YORK, July 13 –
WNBA fans who want to send their well-wishes to the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team prior to the team’s departure for Athens, will have their chance starting today. The WNBA has created a one-of-a-kind banner which features 13 separate sections, one for each team, that will come together to create an expansive 78-foot-by-26-foot send-off message. Once assembled, the banner will read “Bring It Home.”
The banner will be unveiled at New York’s historic Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, August 5. Each WNBA team will make its section of the banner available for fans to sign at home games and other local events before it is put on display before an audience of basketball fans, celebrities and VIPs attending the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City” on Thursday, August 5.
“WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Game at Radio City,” which will serve as a final send-off before the U.S. goes for the gold at the Summer Olympic Games, will feature a team of WNBA All-Stars against this year’s U.S. Olympic team. ESPN will televise the game nationally beginning at 7 p.m.
Tickets to the game 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.
Detroit Shock Head Coach Bill Laimbeer and his assistants will serve as coaching staff for the WNBA All-Star Team. Starters for the WNBA team will be chosen by a 51-member media panel (three local media members from each of the WNBA’s 13 markets, together with 12 national media members) and will be announced on-air at halftime during ESPN2’s coverage of Detroit at Houston on July 15. WNBA head coaches will select the first five reserves, who will be announced on-air at halftime during ESPN2’s coverage of the Minnesota at Connecticut game on July 22. The final reserve will be selected by WNBA fans via on-line balloting on WNBA.com and will be announced on air at halftime of the Los Angeles at Sacramento game on July 29 on ESPN2.
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.