Prepping for the London Olympics, the U.S. national women’s basketball team is staging a mini-camp in Seattle and will host China in an exhibition game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Key.
Sue Bird and her former Storm sister, Swin Cash, will get together at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night with their U.S. women’s national teammates for an exhibition game against China, as both teams prepare for the Summer Olympics in London beginning July 28.
The game is part of a three-day mini-camp in Seattle that brings the U.S. team together for the first time.
“It’s been kind of difficult with everybody’s schedules to have many training camps. So, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Geno Auriemma, coach of the University of Connecticut collegiate powerhouse who will take the team to London. “The fans will get a big kick out of seeing the best players in the world play together, seeing the national team, guys who have been on it in the past and guys who are making it for the first time. It’s an exciting time.”
Bird, on her third Olympic team, rejoined the Storm this week from Europe for training camp, but will remain in town as the Storm travels to Tulsa Friday for an exhibition game. The Storm begins its WNBA season May 18 at home against Los Angeles.
Besides Bird and Cash, now playing for the Chicago Sky, U.S. players include Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx).
The U.S. has a 25-1 record against China, which was the 2011 Asia champion in the FIBA tournament. The teams have scrimmaged against each other this week in closed practices at Seattle Pacific’s gym. At the highest level, Olympic and FIBA world competitions, the nations have squared off nine times, with the Americans claiming five Olympic victories and four world tourney wins.
The U.S. has won the last four Olympic golds and remains heavily favored in London. The USWNT will play exhibitions in Washington D.C .July 16 and in Manchester, England July 18 as well as a four-team tourney in Istanbul July 21-24.
Catalyst for the mini-camp in Seattle was the Storm ownership, which successfully lobbied the Pac-12 Conference to hold its annual post-season tournament at the Key. The three-year deal with the conference starts in 2013.
Tickets for the China exhibition are available through www.stormbasketball.com or ticketmaster.com, or call 206-217-9622 or 1-877- 9622-849. Group tickets are available by calling 206-217-9622.