A Look Back: Trailblazing 1995-96 USA Women's National Team vs. Connecticut
USA Basketball is streaming select exhibition contests on Tuesdays (women) and Thursdays (men). The first in the series is the USA National Team's exhibition victory over the University of Connecticut on Nov. 11, 1995. We hope you enjoy stepping back in time for this series of classic contests!
The 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team played the defending NCAA champion University of Connecticut in an exhibition contest on Nov. 11, 1995. Played in front of a sellout crowd of 8,241 at Gampel Pavilion, the 83-47 USA victory was powered by eventual four-time Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie, who poured in 20 points. Eventual three-time Olympic medalist Katrina McClain finished with 13 points and a game-high-tying eight boards and eventual five-time Olympic medalist Teresa Edwards dished out a game-high six assists.
Jamelle Elliott, who would go on to serve as a scout/court coach for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, was UConn’s top scorer that night with 13 points. Also playing in that game was 2020 U.S. Olympic Team assistant coach Jennifer Rizzotti, who put up an impressive 12 points, dished out three assists and had a team-best four steals.
The USA-UConn game was a homecoming for national team forward Rebecca Lobo, who helped lead UConn to its first NCAA title seven months earlier. She received hero’s welcome from the Storrs crowd and responded with USA fourth-best eight points and a pair of boards.
Including Elliott and Rizzotti, UConn’s five starters all aided USA Basketball in one form or another in international competition. 2018 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year Carla Berube finished with four points and six rebounds; Nykesha Sales, who played on several USA junior teams had nine points and eight boards; and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Kara Wolters scored six points and grabbed three caroms.
It was the second in a series of 20 games against NCAA Division I teams on the historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team’s schedule, which saw the U.S. compile an overall record of 52-0 in the lead-up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.