Riley added after Milton-Jones' injury
Updated: July 24, 2004, 11:28 AM ETESPN.com news services
Detroit's Ruth Riley, the 2003 WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player, has been named to the 2004 USA Basketball Women's Senior National Team.The team was finalized in June, but Riley was added on Thursday to replace DeLisha Milton-Jones, who will miss the Athens Games after suffering a torn medial meniscus and sprained medial collateral ligament in her right knee on July 9. "It's always an honor to have the opportunity to represent your country, especially when you're playing the sport you love," Riley said. "The ultimate goal of any athlete is to represent your country on the highest level. I've done that at the college and professional level, and have never given up my goal of playing at the Olympics. It hasn't gone exactly as planned ... but I have finally gotten the chance to compete at this level." The other members of the 12-player Olympic team are: Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Yolanda Griffith, Shannon Johnson, Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi and Tina Thompson. Riley is a 6-foot-5 center who's averaging a career-high 11.3 points while ranking 17th in rebounding (5.7) and fifth in blocks (1.45) this season in the WNBA. She competed with USA Basketball earlier this spring and was among the candidates for the final roster spots before Cash and Taurasi were added to the Olympic team. Riley competed with Team USA for its first two spring training tours. Playing in eight of the USA's contests in Cuba and Europe, she came off the bench to average 4.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. The U.S. women begin preliminary round play in the Olympics on Aug. 13. The preliminary round will run through Aug. 22, with the medal round to follow from Aug. 25-28. Riley, who averaged 14.7 points in the WNBA Finals against Los Angeles last season, has a chance to add a gold medal to go along with her WNBA title and NCAA championship. During her four years (1998-2001) at Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish compiled a 109-22 record, advanced to the Sweet 16 in 1998 and 2000 and won the national title in 2001. In helping her squad to the 2001 NCAA title to close out her collegiate career, Riley earned NCAA Final Four and Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player honors.
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