Feb. 10, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former University of Notre Dame All-America center Ruth Riley is one of four WNBA players who have been selected to attend the 2004 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team training camp Feb. 19-27 in Jacksonville, Fla. The camp will be used as part of the evaluation process in selecting the final three members for the U.S. team that will compete in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
“It would be an extreme honor to be a member of this team,” Riley said.
“The highest honor an athlete can have is to represent her country and to be named to the team would be the highlight of my career.”
Joining Riley at the USA Basketball training camp will be former Connecticut standout Swin Cash, Louisiana Tech product Cheryl Ford and North Carolina graduate Nikki Teasley. Cash and Ford are teammates with Riley on the WNBA’s Detroit Shock, while Teasley is a two-year starter with the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.
The 6-5 Riley has prior international experience with USA Basketball, having played with the 1998 USA Basketball Select Team that went 7-1 against national teams from Puerto Rico, Poland and Spain. She returned to USA Basketball a year later with the ’99 USA World University Games Team, helping that squad earn a silver medal. In addition, she was a 2002 USA Senior National Team hopeful, taking part in that unit’s spring training in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In September, Riley completed her third WNBA season with a bang, leading the Shock to the league championship. The Macy, Ind., native was named the Most Valuable Player of the WNBA Finals after averaging 14.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in the three-game championship series, including a career-high 27 points in the decisive Game 3 win over the two-time defending champion Sparks. Riley also became the first women’s basketball player ever to be named the Finals MVP at both the college and professional levels – she was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2001 NCAA Final Four when she guided Notre Dame to its first national championship in the sport.
Currently, Riley is in her first season playing with the Colorado Chill of the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL), averaging 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while sparking the Chill to a 6-4 record, good for second place in the league. She also was recently selected as an NWBL All-Star and will play for the NWBL Nationals in the league’s All-Star Game Feb. 16 in Loveland, Colo.
Riley and the U.S. Senior National Team will train four days in Jacksonville before departing for Cuba for a three-game exhibition series against the Cuba National Team Feb. 24-26 in Havana. The final roster positions for the U.S. Senior National Team will be determined by the USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team Committee, which is chaired by WNBA Vice President of Player Personnel Renee’ Brown. The team is coached by Van Chancellor, who has guided the WNBA’s Houston Comets to four championships.
— ND —