39 Current and Former WNBA Players Comprise 2008 Olympic Basketball Rosters

NEW YORK, Aug. 8, 2008 – Today the IOC officially posted complete rosters for each of the 12 women’s basketball teams competing in the 2008 Olympic Games. The WNBA is heavily represented with 39 current and former players among those who will go for the gold beginning Saturday, Aug. 9. In all, a current or former WNBA player dots the roster of 10 of the 12 countries participating in this year’s Olympics.

Each of the 12 members of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team currently play in the WNBA, led by three-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks) and two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith (Detroit Shock). Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets) also return from the gold-medal winning 2004 U.S. Olympic Team in Athens while DeLisha Milton-Jones (Los Angeles Sparks) previously won gold with the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team in Sydney.

First-time Olympians for the United States include rookie standouts Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) and Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) as well as Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) and Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury). Collectively, the U.S. Olympic Team boasts 10 gold medals and will go for their fourth Olympic gold in a row.

The Australian Olympic Team features eight current or former WNBA players, led by reigning WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm) and Tully Bevilaqua (Indiana Fever).

Several other active WNBA players will appear in Beijing. Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars) will play for the Russian Olympic squad, while Hamchetou Maiga-Ba (Houston Comets) will represent Mali and Kelly Santos (Seattle Storm) will play for Brazil.

Current WNBA rosters featuring more than one Olympian include the Los Angeles Sparks (3- Leslie, Parker, Milton-Jones), Seattle Storm (3- Bird, Jackson, Santos), Phoenix Mercury (2- Taurasi, Pondexter), Houston Comets (2- Thompson, Maiga-Ba) and Indiana Fever (2- Catchings, Bevilaqua).

Coaches also bring WNBA pedigrees as well. Former WNBA head coaches Anne Donovan (Charlotte Sting, Fever, Storm) and Tom Maher (Washington Mystics) will coach the United States and China, respectively while current Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team. Two former WNBA players will also serve as assistant coaches. Dawn Staley, previously a star player with the Sting and Comets, joins Donovan’s staff and Michele Timms, an original player for the Mercury, will assist Maher.

The 2008 WNBA season will resume play on Aug. 28 following the Olympics. A complete list of Olympic basketball players with WNBA experience follows.

Current and Former WNBA Players in the 2008 Olympics

Player Team WNBA Years
Seimone Augustus United States 2006-present
Sue Bird United States 2002-present
Tamika Catchings United States 2001-present
Sylvia Fowles United States 2008-present
Kara Lawson United States 2003-present
Lisa Leslie United States 1997-present
DeLisha Milton-Jones United States 1999-present
Candace Parker United States 2008-present
Cappie Pondexter United States 2006-present
Katie Smith United States 1999-present
Diana Taurasi United States 2004-present
Tina Thompson United States 1997-present
Suzy Batkovic Australia 2005
Tully Bevilaqua Australia 1998, 2000-present
Kristi Harrower Australia 1998-99, 2001-03, 2005
Lauren Jackson Australia 2001-present
Erin Phillips Australia 2006
Belinda Snell Australia 2005-07
Laura Summerton Australia 2005-06
Penny Taylor Australia 2001-2007
Yelena Leuchanka Belarus 2006-07
Claudia das Neves Brazil 1999-02
Adriana Moises Pinto Brazil 2001-02, 2007
Kelly Santos Brazil 2001-02, 2008
Sui Feifei China 2005
Miao Lijie China 2005
Zane Teilane Tamane Latvia 2006
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba Mali 2002-present
Svetlana Abrosimova Russia 2001-07
Becky Hammon Russia 1999-present
Ilona Korstine Russia 2001
Irina Osipova Russia 2006
Maria Stepanova Russia 1998-2001, 2005
Natalia Vodopyanova Russia 2005
Elisa Aguilar Spain 2002
Nuria Martinez Spain 2005
Isabel Sanchez Spain 2004
Amaya Valdemoro Spain 1998-2000
Jung Sun-Min South Korea 2003

About the WNBA
Comprised of 14 teams and entering its 12th season, the WNBA is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world. The 2008 season tipped off May 17 with ESPN2 again providing appointment viewing in the form of its “WNBA Tuesdays” telecasts. During the 2008 season, combined coverage on ABC and ESPN2 will include 21 national telecasts, while NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour television network, will offer 70 regular-season contests.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.