Tennessee's Candace Parker Added To Final USA Spring Training Roster

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March 28, 2006 • Colorado Springs, Colorado

High Flyer
Tennessee's Candace Parker will join in on the USA Senior National Team's final spring training session and could be the first USA player to dunk in a senior-level game. She already has three at the junior level while helping the U.S. to gold in Puerto Rico in 2004.
(Photo courtesy University of Tennessee Women's Athletics)

USA Basketball has added University of Tennessee redshirt freshman Candace Parker (Naperville, Ill.), a member of the gold medal winning 2004 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Team, to the roster for the USA Women's Senior National Team's final spring training session, April 1-12. The training will begin in Boston April 1-4, where the U.S. will prepare for the April 7-12 Opals World Challenge, featuring Australia, China and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), in Cairns and Canberra, Australia.

"I'm glad to be able to add Candace to this training camp roster," said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. "She, along with the other collegiate players, will give a different look to this team for our final training session. It will be really good for me, my staff and the USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee to get a look at these young players competing against the top teams we'll face in Australia."

As a member of the 2004 USA Junior World Championship Qualifying Team that rolled to a 5-0 record en route to the gold medal, Parker started all five games and averaged team highs of 16.6 ppg., 4.8 apg. and 2.4 bpg, while posting and USA second bests of 8.8 rpg. and 3.4 spg. in just under 20 minutes of action per contest. Additionally, Parker dunked three times during the tournament.

During the 2005-06 season at Tennessee as a redshirt freshman, Parker aided the Lady Vols to a 31-5 record, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Tournament crown and the NCAA Elite Eight. She started all 36 games for UT and led the squad in scoring (17.3 ppg.) and rebounding (8.3 rpg.), while adding a third best 2.9 apg. Parker was listed as one of 30 mid-season finalists for the 2006 Naismith Player of the Year Award and one of 18 finalists for the 2006 John R. Wooden Award, was named to the 2006 All-SEC first team by conference coaches and All-SEC second team by the Associated Press, earned 2006 SEC Rookie of the Year and 2006 SEC Tournament MVP honors. Further, Parker was selected a 2006 Kodak/WBCA All-Region 3 and a Kodak/WBCA All-America finalist.

Parker joins four other collegiate All-Americans, Louisiana State University's Seimone Augustus (Baton Rouge, La.) and Sylvia Fowles (Miami, Fla.), Ohio State University's Jessica Davenport (Columbus, Ohio) and Rutgers University's (N.J.) Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, Ill.), who will train alongside Olympic gold medalists and WNBA standouts during this final spring training session.

Olympic gold medalists Swin Cash (Detroit Shock), Ruth Riley (Detroit Shock), Katie Smith (Detroit Shock), and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets) will provide the veteran leadership for a squad that will feature young WNBA talent in Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), Shameka Christon (New York Liberty), Kristin Haynie (Sacramento Monarchs) and Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs).

In addition to the 12-member squad that will compete in Australia, three-time Olympic gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes (Houston Comets) will practice during the team's Boston training camp. Due to prior commitments, she is unable to compete in Australia.

Due to the timing of the 2006 WNBA Draft, Donovan and USA assistant coach Mike Thibault of the Connecticut Sun will arrive in Australia after the team's first game. Because of that, USA assistant coach Dawn Staley of Temple University (Pa.) will act as the team's head coach for the first game in Ausrtralia. USA athletes involved in the Final Four and/or the 2005 WNBA Draft will join the squad in Australia.

USA Basketball will announce the final 12-member 2006 USA World Championship Team by the end of June.

The U.S. will gather in Boston for four practices before departing for Australia, beginning with an April 1 training session that gets underway at 10:00 a.m. (all times local) at Harvard University's Malkin Athletic Center. The USA's final three practices will be held at Boston College's Conti Arena and will begin on April 2 at 12:00 p.m., at 10:30 a.m. on April 3, and the final practice in Boston will tip-off at 9:00 a.m. on April 4.

In addition to team training, several players will speak to young athletes at NCAA YES Clinics, participate in a clinic at the NCAA Hoop City, and the U.S. team will host area youths during the April 2 practice, followed by an autograph session.

At 8:30 a.m. on April 1, Beard, Christon, Haynie and Smith will speak to girls and boys, aged 10-18, at each of the NCAA Women's Final Four YES clinics from 8:30-9:15 a.m. Beard will attend the Reggie Lewis Center clinic in Roxbury; Christon will be a the Shelburne Community Center clinic in Roxbury; Haynie will attend the University of Massachusetts-Boston clinic; while Smith will be at the Harvard University site. That evening at 5:00 p.m., Davenport, Haynie and Riley will be featured assistants at a clinic inside the NCAA Hoop City at Hynes Convention Center.

USA Basketball has also invited up to 25 area youths who are members of the Baintree Youth Basketball Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA team to attend the final 30 minutes of its practice on April 2, after which the kids will have a chance to interact with and get autographs from U.S. team members.

The Australia-hosted Opals World Challenge tips-off in Cairns with the U.S. opening with China on April 7 and facing Australia on April 8. The tournament then moves to Canberra, where the Americans will play China again on April 10, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) on April 11, and the Opals World Challenge concludes with the second USA-Australia clash on April 12.

USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team
This marks USA Basketball's third of three spring training camps, which will see 2006 USA World Championship Team hopefuls go against top national and professional club teams from around the globe to help determine the 12-member roster for the 2006 USA Women's World Championship Team. The USA has previously posted an overall 6-0 record over top professionals during two training camps in Europe, March 2-9 and March 18-24.

The USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee, chaired by Reneé Brown, the WNBA's Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, selected the athletes for the three spring training camps. The spring training will give the coaching staff and USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team Committee a chance to evaluate a variety of candidates competing for the 12 roster positions on the 2006 USA World Championship Team.

Following the 2006 WNBA season, the USA will regroup in late August for a final training camp before heading to Brazil to defend its World Championship title at the 15th FIBA World Championship, slated to be played Sept. 12-23 in Sao Paulo.

Donovan will be assisted at the 2006 FIBA World Championship 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
Behind the play of 2002 FIBA World Championship MVP Leslie, the United States captured the ‘02 gold medal, successfully defending its 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 World Championship has been contested essentially every four years since 1953. The United States captured the first two gold medals before the beginning of the Soviet domination of women's basketball at the 1959 World Championship. The former USSR put together a string of five straight golds (1959, 1964, 1967, 1971, 1975), before the United States reclaimed gold in 1979. The Soviet Union in 1983 earned its final World Championship crown as the USA went on to capture four of the next five World Championships (1986, 1990, 1998, 2002). The only other nation to break into the gold medal column at this event is Brazil, which defeated the USA in the 1994 semifinals and went on to take the top spot that year.

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; and 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 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 silver medal.

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