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Chill's Riley chosen for national team

February 9, 2004 - National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) - Colorado Chill News Release

Colorado Chill center Ruth Riley was chosen today to join the U.S. National Team in its first training session for the Olympics this summer in Greece.

Riley, along with Swin Cash, Cheryl Ford and Nikki Teasley, were the final additions to the nine-player core group that was previously announced, according to an official release from USA Basketball. The core players (Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Shannon Johnson, Lisa Leslie, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson) are guaranteed spots on the Olympic Team, with three spots still available.

Riley will try for one of those openings during a training session that will take her from the Colorado Chill from Feb. 19-27. She will not miss any home games during that stretch, and is expected to return for the Feb. 28 home game against Dallas. Riley will also miss this week’s games at Dallas and Birmingham to participate with the WNBA in the NBA’s All-Star Weekend before returning to play in Monday’s NWBL All-Star Game at the Budweiser Events Center.

Chill general manager Dave King knew last fall when he signed Riley to the Chill that she was a strong candidate for the National Team and might miss some time with the NWBL squad. If she is chosen to the second training session (March 18-28) she would miss two home games.

“We knew Ruth was one of the best players in the United States, and we wanted to give our fans a chance to watch her and get to know her,” King said. “We are so proud of Ruth and the fact that she was chosen for this.”

Riley, a 6-foot-5 center, currently leads the National Women’s Basketball League in free-throw percentage with 92.5, and is tied for second with eight rebounds a game. She is second on the Chill with 13.3 points a game. Last summer, Riley was the MVP of the WNBA Championships, when she helped the Detroit Shock complete a turnaround from worst in the league to first in one season.

“It would be an extreme honor,” Riley said about the opportunity to play for the United States at the Olympics. “The highest honor an athlete can have is to represent her country, and to be named to the team would be the highlight of my career.”

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