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 womens 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 years Olympics.
Each of the 12 members of the U.S. Olympic Womens 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.
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 Donovans 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
|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|
|Tully Bevilaqua||Australia||1998, 2000-present|
|Kristi Harrower||Australia||1998-99, 2001-03, 2005|
|Claudia das Neves||Brazil||1999-02|
|Adriana Moises Pinto||Brazil||2001-02, 2007|
|Kelly Santos||Brazil||2001-02, 2008|
|Zane Teilane Tamane||Latvia||2006|
|Maria Stepanova||Russia||1998-2001, 2005|
|Jung Sun-Min||South Korea||2003|
About the WNBA
Comprised of 14 teams and entering its 12th season, the WNBA is the most successful womens 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 leagues 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 womens health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.