Bridgeport to Host USA Women’s National Team Exhibition Game
Geno Auriemma will be coming back to Webster Bank Arena in September, but this time not with the Huskies. The arena’s president Howard Saffan announced that Bridgeport will be hosting a USA versus Canada exhibition game on September 15, 2014.
The team will round out their training period for the FIBA World Championship with exhibition games, and this will be the first one on their schedule.
“I can’t wait to get this team together in the fall and I am thrilled to be able to finish our training in the United States right here in Bridgeport,” said Auriemma, Head Coach of the USA National team.
Webster Bank Arena is no stranger to Auriemma and many of the players in the 2014-2016 National Team pool.
“It’s the kind of building you love playing in and you love coaching in,” he said.
According to Auriemma, although he was not a part of negotiations, USA Basketball had looked at places to consider for this game and after ultimately settling on Connecticut, the question for them was “But where in Connecticut?” Bridgeport, a city full of passion for not only UConn basketball, but basketball in general says Auriemma, proved to be the best location for the event.
Mayor of Bridgeport, Bill Finch, highlighted the recent renovations to the arena and how he expects a great turnout of fans to support one of the nation’s most talented teams.
Currently, the roster is still up in the air, and will not be decided until shortly before the exhibition game. There are many external factors that can contribute to player selection, according to Auriemma, as well as team attendance for the exhibition game, such as injuries and which teams will be in the WNBA playoffs at the time.
Some familiar faces in the pool include recent UConn favorites in Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, and Breanna Stewart, as well as legends such as Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Sue Bird, and Diana Taurasi.
Although he is hopeful that the team will have enough veteran players, Auriemma stated how despite the solid roster of the past, this time around could mark “the beginning of a new era” for USA basketball.
The US team has dominated the FIBA tournament, taking four of the last five World Championship titles, with only Australia breaking their gold streak in 2006.
Now, Bridgeport residents, Connecticut fans, and USA basketball fans alike will be able to see the beginning stages of the team’s road to the FIBA World Championship right in their own country. Saffan said Webster Bank Arena has been a “good luck charm” for Auriemma, and fans are hoping that the luck rubs off on the USA team, as well.