Ducks to Face USA Women’s National Team
For the first time, the Oregon women’s basketball team will host the USA Basketball Women’s National Team in an exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. in Matthew Knight Arena.
The game is being played as a part of the USA National Team’s expanded training program to aid in its pursuit of a seventh consecutive gold medal, with the team playing four games against highly ranked NCAA Division I programs (Oregon, Stanford, Oregon State and Texas A&M).
“Our team is incredibly excited at the chance to play against the United States Women’s National Team here at Matthew Knight Arena,” Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said. “Not only will our players have the opportunity to play against the highest level of competition, but our fans will watch the best players in the world right here at home while also getting a first look at our 2019-20 Oregon Ducks squad. This is such a special opportunity for our program, and we can’t wait to see everyone there on Nov. 9.”
Oregon women’s basketball season ticket holders can secure their season ticket locations for this game online now through Oct. 16, and the public on-sale for this game will begin at 9 a.m. PT on Monday, Oct. 21, at www.goducks.com/wbbtix.
As part of its expanded women’s national team program, USA Basketball has secured commitments from eight elite athletes from the 2019-20 USA National Team pool to participate in the team’s five training segments that will take place between November 2019 and April 2020. Those eight include Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics), Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings), Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx), Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles Sparks), Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces).
The roster for the November college tour will be rounded out by USA National Team members Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx) and Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces).
In all, fans during the four NCAA games will see athletes who own a combined 15 Olympic and 15 FIBA World Cup gold medals.
There are several connections between the Oregon basketball program and USA Basketball, including the champion 2019 3×3 Nationals team of Oti Gildon, Lydia Giomi, Ruthy Hebard, and Sabrina Ionescu. Four Ducks also comprised the 2018 3×3 FIBA World Cup and 3×3 Nationals team (Erin Boley, Gildon, Hebard, and Ionsecu).
Hebard is also competing next week for the USA Basketball 3×3 team competing at the World Beach Games at Katara Beach in Qatar from Oct. 13-16.
Other current Oregon players with experience on past USA medalist teams include Boley (2017 U23 TC, 2015 3×3 U18). Hebard (2019 WNT training, 2019 3×3 Pan American Games, 2018 WC Training, 2017 U19, 2016 U18), Ionsecu (2019 3×3 PAG, 2017 U23, 2014 U17, 2013 U16), and Sedona Prince (2018 U18, 2016 U17, 2015 U16). Additionally, Graves was an assistant on the 2012 U18 and 2013 U19 teams.
Early in 2020 the U.S. team will compete in a second series of NCAA games, which will be announced at a later date. Because of the cooperation by the NCAA and its member schools, the USA National Team has been afforded the opportunity to compete in these two series of exhibition games against some of the nation’s premier NCAA Division I programs.
“I have to thank all of the parties involved, the NCAA, USA Basketball, all of the people who worked behind the scenes to get a waiver for us to be able to play a college tour once again,” said USA National Team head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina). “Historically speaking, it has been great for our program to have a college tour. All our past USA teams that had a college tour went on to win Olympic gold medals. So, if we can pull back into some historical times in which we had the opportunity to showcase our national team in this light, women’s college basketball is at an all-time high as far as exposure. This will increase the exposure to women’s basketball. And I’m excited. Again, it’s prep time. It’s more prep time. The more time we have, the better we will perform in Tokyo.”
Following completion of its November NCAA tour, the USA will participate in the Nov. 10-18 FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The USA, joined by Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, will play in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament Group A, which includes Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, will play in Edmonton, Canada. The top two teams from each of those groups will qualify to play in one of the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (sites TBD), Feb. 2-10.
The USA National Team, which already has qualified for the 2020 Olympics, is taking advantage of and participating in FIBA’s new Olympic qualification process, which began with the recently concluded FIBA AmeriCup, where the U.S. finished 6-0 and captured gold on Sept. 29 in Puerto Rico. The top eight finishing teams in the AmeriCup qualified for the Nov. 10-18 FIBA Americas Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The remaining window of competition features the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments from Feb. 2-10, 2020, at sites around the world to be determined following the November window.