Three-Time Olympian Lisa Leslie Returns To USA Basketball National Team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -- Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles Sparks), a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000 and 2004) and MVP of the 2002 FIBA World Championship, will return to USA Basketball as a member of the 2007-08 USA National Team and will participate in the team’s Oct. 31 - Nov. 15 college tour, USA Basketball announced today. It was also announced that Katie Feenstra (Detroit Shock) and Janel McCarville (New York Liberty), both of whom competed on the 2007 USA Select Team, have been officially added to the 2007-08 USA National Team roster that now numbers 29. Feenstra will also participate in the college tour.

A veteran of international basketball, Leslie has played in 204 games for USA Basketball dating back to 1989. Having compiled 3,222 points (16.0 ppg.) and 1,393 rebounds (6.9 rpg.) during her USA career, Leslie was the USA’s leading scorer and ranked either first or second in rebounding for the 2004, 2000 and 1996 Olympic gold medalist teams, and the 2002 and 1998 FIBA World Championship gold medalist teams.

In addition to featuring Feenstra and Leslie, the 10 player USA National Team roster for the 2007 College Tour includes 2004 Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock) and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); as well as Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Kara Braxton (Detroit Shock), Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs), Taj McWilliams-Franklin (Los Angeles Sparks) and Loree Moore (New York Liberty).

“I have been looking forward to getting Lisa back in the program for a long time now,” said USA National Team and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. “Knowing that she’s going to be joining us for the college tour gives me a real sense of excitement in seeing more of our post game develop and take shape.

“Lisa’s leadership, experience and her voice is something that we really need to play with again. For our younger players in particular, to have that opportunity to be with her, interact with her and learn from her, as well as to show Lisa all the development that we’ve done in her absence, it’s an exciting time for us.”

“I am excited to get back on the court,” said Leslie. “I feel I have a long way to go to get ready for the Olympics but this will give me a chance to get moving in that direction.”

The USA will tip-off its 2007 College Tour on the East Coast with a Halloween game against the University of Maryland in College Park on Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m. (all times local), then will face the University of Connecticut in Storrs on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Heading south, the USA takes on defending NCAA champion University of Tennessee in Knoxville on Nov. 4 at 3:00 p.m., then battles Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on No. 6 at 7:00 p.m. On Nov. 8 the USA will meet Arizona State University in Tempe at 6:30 p.m., then returns to the Lone Star State for a Nov. 11 match-up against Texas A&M University in College Station at 6:00 p.m. Moving west to California for its final two games, Nov. 13 will see the USA pitted against the University of Southern California in Los Angeles at 7:00 p.m., and the USA concludes its tour on Nov. 15 at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., at 7:00 p.m.

The Nov. 1 contest against UConn will be a homecoming for Bird, Cash and Taurasi, all of whom won NCAA titles as members of the Huskies; while Lawson and Moore will return to their college roots when the U.S. takes on Tennessee two days later. In a double homecoming, USC fans will have the chance to watch their former All-American Leslie, and Sparks fans can cheer on a pair of their players in both Leslie and McWilliams-Franklin on Nov. 13. Further, Taurasi will return to the Phoenix area to play for the first time since winning the ‘07 WNBA title with the Mercury when the USA takes on ASU on Nov. 8 and the Sacramento Monarchs are planning a road trip to Stanford to watch Lawson and the rest of the U.S. team as it caps the college tour on Nov. 15.

The USA squad will go against a pair of 2007-08 USA Basketball National Team members and current college standouts when they face Candace Parker in the Tennessee game and Candice Wiggins at Stanford.

Previously two USA Basketball National Teams have undertaken a college tour. The historic 1995-96 USA National Team went 20-0 against top NCAA programs, while the 1999-2000 USA National Team compiled a mark of 11-1 during its pre-Olympic training. The only schools on the 2007 tour that the USA previously has faced are Connecticut, Stanford and Tennessee. The ’95-96 squad defeated Connecticut 83-47 on Nov. 5, Stanford 100-63 on Nov. 10 and Tennessee 82-58 on Nov. 22; while the 1999-2000 squad downed Stanford 82-58 on Nov. 1 and lost 65-64 at Tennessee following a buzzer-beater by then-Lady Vol freshman Lawson on Nov. 7.

Donovan will be assisted by USA National Team assistant and Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault; while USA assistants Gail Goestenkors of the University of Texas and Dawn Staley of Temple University will be unable to participate due to their collegiate coaching schedules.