Corvallis, OR. -- The Oregon and Oregon State women's basketball teams were selected to be among a group of four college basketball programs to host the U.S.A Women's National team during their college tour. The national team will hold four exhibition games this November. The other teams selected were Stanford, and Texas A&M.
The Beavers will play three exhibition games, beginning October 27th with Union, followed by Concordia on November 1st, before finishing with the Team USA matchup.
As expected the roster is loaded with some of the best talent in the world, including soon to be hall of famers, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, and two time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne. When speaking with the players on Wednesday, they admitted they probably will be a bit star struck playing against their idols and players who made them want to pick up a basketball in the first place.
"I think you have to respect them, in the way that they play and who they are, said guard Destiny Slocum. "I think that comes first, but I don't think our competitive nature really changes. I think any time we step on Gill Coliseum floor or any floor for that, we're going to come in and give the best competition that we can."
For the Oregon Ducks, it will be an opportunity for star guard Sabrina Ionescu, widely regarded as a consensus no. 1 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft, to test her mettle against athletes that she may very well be playing with or against in a season. Several current Ducks have played with Team USA in some iteration aside from Ionescu, such as forwards Ruthy Hebard and Lydia Giomi, as well as Erin Boley and Sedona Prince.
“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.”
Slocum and guard Aleah Goodman had their first chance this summer representing the red, blue, and white this offseason playing for Team USA in the national three on three championships. Guard Mikayla Pivec, also donned the USA across her chest this offseason playing for Team USA in the Pan American Games. But even head coach, Scott Rueck knows that competition will not be the same experience they'll have this November.
Rueck said, "I think any time you play elite you certainly have your weaknesses exposed. You learn a lot about yourself in those moments. And so this is a team full of hall of famers and when you get to compete against them, that's what i'm personally most excited about is to see what can we do against them. How can we adapt as the game goes on?"
The Beavers will tip-off against Team USA on November 4th, in Gill Coliseum at 7 p.m. while the Ducks will take on the National Team on Saturday, November 9th at 4 p.m.