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League Filled With Top Talent

December 8, 2003 - National Women's Basketball League (NWBL) - Springfield Spirit News Release

West Springfield, December 6, 2003 – Springfield Spirit President and Owner, Stephen Fox and Head Coach Salvatore Verdi were both very pleased to announce today that the 2004 Springfield Spirit roster will include six new faces.

The Springfield Spirit 2004 draft picks included in the first round Jennifer Butler 6th overall (UMASS), second round, Brianne Stepherson 12th overall (BC), third round Rasheeda Clark 18th overall (Pepperdine), fourth round, Courtney Coleman 24th overall (Ohio State), fifth round Kelley Hunt 30th overall (UCONN) and in the sixth round Diane Warner 36th overall (CCSU). Stephen Fox stated, “I am so pleased with the amount of talent that was available in the draft this year. It was really hard to lose a player like Rebecca Lobo, but I think the Spirit improved greatly with the addition of player such as Jennifer Butler.”

Other notable NWBL draft picks included was Birmingham Power selecting Alissas Burras-LA Tech ’98 1st overall, Tennessee selected Cheryl Ford-LA Tech ’03 2nd (Detroit Shock and the Rookie of the Year in the WNBA) overall, Colorado Chill took Ruth Riley-Notre Dame ’01 3rd overall (Detroit Shock and MVP in the Championship series) and the Houston Stealth took Cynthia Cooper-USC ’86 5th overall who is a favorite to enter the Hall of Fame. All the draft choices can be seen at www.nwbl.com.

“With the signing of Courtney Coleman and Rasheeda Clark it gives us a dimension of a much quicker team with the ability to run and get out on the break” quoted Verdi. Fox and Verdi have been able to two former Connecticut Sun players from last year. The two players that are still to come are Sue Bird and Swin Cash. We are hopeful that they will be playing part or most of the season in 2004. Sue is waiting on her knee to get better as she is in rehabilitation so she will know more around the holidays and Swin is coming back from Russia on December 22, 2003 for good.

This year the venues have been downsized to 2000 seats at Cathedral High in Springfield for 7 games and Central Connecticut State University which holds 2500. Fox was quoted that “the fans wanted a more up close feeling and to be closer to their favorite Spirit/UCONN players. This will certainly allow them to gain access”. The Spirit roster already has players signed from last years team such as Kara Wolters and Rita Williams two former UCONN players as well as Cindy Blodgett, Stacey Clinesmith, Kristen McCory and Yatar Kuyateh.

Individual game tickets are on sale on at the Springfield Civic Center Box and Central Connecticut State University box offices. Tickets may also be charged over the phone at 413-787-6600, 800-639-8602 (SCC) and at 860-832-1989 (CCSU). Tickets for the 2004 season may also be purchased on line at www.nwbl.com and www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets costs at CCSU are $20, $15, and $10 for adults and $12 and $10 for juniors under 18. At Cathedral H/S the tickets are $15 and $12 for adults and $10 for Junior under 18.

The NWBL is a Professional Women’s Basketball League with franchises in Springfield, MA; Knoxville, TN; Chicago, IL; Birmingham, AL; Houston, TX and Fort Collins, CO. Last year the NWBL boasted some of the best players in women’s basketball, including, Sue Bird, Sheryl Swoopes, Swin Cash, Kara Wolters, Tina Thompson, Rebecca Lobo, The Miller twins, Michelle Snow and Becky Hammon.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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