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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, February 24, 2012

USA Basketball announce pre-Olympic training plans

USA Basketball announced the training schedule and exhibition games for the U.S. squad in July as the squad, coached by UConn's Geno Auriemma, will make the final preparation in the quest for a fifth-straight gold medal.

After the WNBA breaks for the Olympics the U.S. squad will gather at American University in Washington, D.C. for practices on July 14 and 15. On July 16 there will be a doubleheader between the U.S. and Brazil at American's Bender Arena with the men's game tipping at 5:30 p.m. followed by the women's contest at 8 p.m. Then the teams will leave for London, the site of the Olympics. After a day of practice the U.S. women's squad will play Great Britain in an exhibition on July 18. Among the players on Great Britain's squad is former Cheshire Academy star Johannah Leedham. Then from July 20-24 the U.S. will play in a tournament in Istanbul hosted by Turkey. The other two teams and schedule will be announced later.

Tickets for the exhibition game in Great Britain will be available starting March 6 by calling +44 (0)844 847 8000 or visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk. Ticket information for the exhibition games in Washington, D.C. will be released at a later date.

"I think any opportunity that we get to train is vital," Auriemma said.  "The game in Washington, D.C., against Brazil gives us an opportunity to see right away what we have. What are some of our strengths? What are some of our weaknesses? It is a great send-off. There should be a lot of fanfare for our team. These are phenomenal athletes and I want the entire country to back them. So, this will be a great opportunity to send them off.

"Going to England to play helps us find out a little more about our team, it gives us a little more recognition. It will bring a little more excitement, get people talking about and engaged in the team.

"Finally, the tournament in Istanbul is going to be huge. To be able to go there and play against some great teams, spend all that time together, really come together as a group and form those bonds that you really need to have to go forward will be very important for us. That whole experience, the games in Washington, Manchester, Istanbul, they're going to be instrumental in deciding what kind of team we're going to be."
There were no details given of plans to hold a training camp in May on the East Coast. Look for those details and the naming of the 12-member U.S. Olympic team to be coming at a later date.

JEFFERSON, THESA RIDERS OPEN WITH CONVINCING WIN
I don't have any details otgher than the final score but the THESA Riders opened play in the Texas Home School State Basketball Playoffs with a 68-23 win over the Victoria Cobras on Thursday. Next up is a game today agains the CHESS Knights and with a win the THESA Riders, led by UConn signee Moriah Jefferson, will play either the Abilene Hawks of Dallas HSAA in the winners' bracket final tonight. The championship game is set for 3 p.m. tomorrow in Frisco, Tex. which is 2 p.m. here in Connecticut.

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