2006 USA Women's World Championship Team Training Plans Unveiled
06 Squad To Host
Australia, Three Open Practices In North Carolina
August 3, 2006 Colorado Springs, Colorado
The 2006 USA Women's World Championship Team will begin its final push towards defending its title at the FIBA World Championship during an Aug. 29-Sept. 7 training camp that will be highlighted by an exhibition contest against 2004 Olympic silver medalist Australia at Duke University (N.C.) on Sept. 7, as well as a trio of practices that are free and open to the public on Aug. 30 at North Carolina State University, Aug. 31 at the University of North Carolina and Sept. 3 at Duke, USA Basketball announced today.
Ticket prices range from $7-$25 and group sales are also available. Fans may purchase tickets by logging onto goduke.com, calling 877-375-Duke or stopping by the Duke Athletic Ticket Office from 8:30-4:30 p.m. (all times local EDT) Monday through Friday.
"USA Basketball is excited once again to train and compete in the Raleigh-Durham area," said USA Basketball President Val Ackerman. "Duke was an excellent host to our 1999-2000 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team and we are happy to return to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Sept. 7 clash with Australia. In addition to the game, which should be a great competition for the area's basketball fans to watch, USA Basketball has partnered with the women's basketball programs at Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State, all three of which have a strong history with USA Basketball, in hosting open practices for local fans. We appreciate the warm welcome Raleigh-Durham is extending to us and look forward to a productive training camp before the team heads to Brazil."
"Getting started in North Carolina means we're just that much closer to the World Championship and that makes me very excited," said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. "It seems like such a long way away with so much of the WNBA season yet to be played. But when I think of the World Championship and that training period and the incredibly talented team that we have, I get very excited.
"The game against Australia, that's one of the teams we'll be contending with in the medal run, so fans will get to see the Australian team and our team coming together before the Worlds. It will be a very competitive game, as it always is when we play against Australia. In the open practices the fans will also get to see these elite players at their best, which is in practice, working hard, gelling together and being on the court at the same time. It's going to be very competitive, our practices are as competitive as any game so it should be very fun to watch."
"It's a privilege and an honor to have the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team training at Duke," said Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors, who will serve as one of Donovan's three assistants at the 2006 FIBA World Championship. "It's a great opportunity for the community to see women's basketball at its very best. I'm also excited about the opportunity to coach Alana again and I know she's thrilled to come home and play in front of her fans at Cameron."
The training in North Carolina will be a homecoming for former Duke standout Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), who on Aug. 1 was named to the 2006 USA World Championship Team.
"I'm so excited about coming back to my home at Duke and playing in front of everyone who supported me through my four years there," said Beard. "Even though I'll be representing USA Basketball this time around, I'll always be a Dukie. I think the fans will really enjoy watching this team go up against Australia, one of our biggest rivals internationally. I can't wait to be able to play again at Cameron, and to be teamed up with Coach G again will be awesome."
The U.S. will begin training at 10:00 a.m. at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium on Aug. 29, and will train there daily at 10:00 a.m. through Sept. 6. In addition to those practice sessions, which are open to credentialed media only, the USA squad will host three practices that are free and open to the public. On Aug. 30, the squad can be seen starting at 6:30 p.m. at North Carolina State's Reynolds Coliseum, the Aug. 31 open practice also tips at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at North Carolina's Carmichael Auditorium, while the USA's Sept. 3 open practice will begin at 5:00 p.m. at Cameron.
Capping the USA's 10 days of 2006 FIBA World Championship preparations in the Raleigh-Durham area is a clash between two of the top teams in the world as the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team is hosting Australia's national team on Sept. 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Cameron.
In addition to Beard, listed on the USA World Championship roster are three-time Olympic gold medalists Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks) and Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets), two-time Olympic gold medalists Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs) and Katie Smith (Detroit Shock), 2000 Olympic gold medalist DeLisha Milton-Jones (Washington Mystics), and 2004 Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever) Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets), as well as 2003 U21 World Championship gold medalist Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx).
The United States is looking at the 2006 FIBA World Championship, hosted by Brazil Sept. 12-23, to continue building upon the success it's experienced over the last decade in the international arena. Since the 1996 Olympic Games the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team has posted five consecutive gold medals at the Olympics and FIBA World Championships. Not only have the American women finished on the top of the podium, they have posted an unblemished 42-0 record, an unparalleled streak over the past decade among U.S. women's traditional team sports. Additionally, the United States is No. 1 in the world in every age group after also claiming gold at the 2005 FIBA U19 World Championship and 2003 FIBA U21 World Championship.
The Donovan-led U.S. squad will seek to defend its World Championship title at the 15th FIBA World Championship. Behind the play of 2002 FIBA World Championship MVP Leslie, as well as Bird, Catchings, Milton-Jones, Smith and Swoopes, the United States captured the 02 gold medal, successfully defending it's 1998 World Championship crown.
The U.S. owns a record seven gold medals, one silver and one bronze at the World Championship, while compiling an 80-20 (.800 winning percentage) record, including a 19-0 winning streak that dates back to the 1994 bronze medal game.
The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee, chaired by WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Reneé Brown, selected the USA team's coaches and players and is continuing to evaluate players for the final roster position, which will be announced later this summer.
Donovan will be assisted on the sidelines by Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault and collegiate head coaches Gail Goestenkors of Duke University (N.C.) and Dawn Staley of Temple University (Pa.).
FIBA World Championship
FIBA conducted on Jan. 31 the official draw to determine the four preliminary round groupings for the 2006 FIBA World Championship, and the United States was placed in Group C along with China, Nigeria and Russia. Preliminary round games are scheduled for Sept. 12-14, and the top three teams from each of the four preliminary round groups will advance to the second round for the right to advance to the medal round quarterfinals. Placed in Group A were Argentina, host Brazil, South Korea and Spain; Group B includes Australia, Canada, Lithuania and Senegal; while Group D consists of Cuba, Czech Republic, France and Chinese Taipei.
The 15th FIBA World Championship format will feature a round-robin competition in preliminary round play. The top three teams from each preliminary group advance to form two second round groups consisting of six teams each. Each team's results against advancing teams from its preliminary group carries over to the second round standings, and each team will play the other three teams in the second round group whom they have not faced previously. The top four teams from those two groups will advance to the medal round quarterfinals. The gold and bronze medal games will be played Sept. 23.
2006 will mark Brazil's fourth time hosting the FIBA World Championship:
Rio de Janeiro played host in 1957, and Sao Paulo was the site for the
1971 and 1983 Worlds. In all, the United States had mixed success when
playing a World Championship in Brazil. The 1957 squad took home the gold
with an 8-1 slate, in 1971 the U.S. finished in eighth place with a 6-2
record and in 1983 the USA squad again went 6-2, but returned with the