Aug. 3, 2010
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. -
The Richmond women's basketball team opened practice this week in anticipation of its Scandinavian tour Aug. 10-19. The Spiders, the first team in the country to travel overseas with freshmen, open Aug. 12 in Sweden.
"It has been a productive two days of practice," said head coach Michael Shafer. "It is hard to believe that we are even practicing on August 2nd, particularly with the freshmen. This foreign tour provides our team with an incredible opportunity to learn and grow together. Obviously, we are ahead of the game at this point, but I have been impressed with the freshmen's ability to pick up specific concepts."
Richmond travels to five Scandinavian cities, including Stockholm, Uppsala, Oslo, Lillehammer and Bergen. The Spiders will visit museums and castles in Stockholm and visit the famous Winter Olympic ski jump in Oslo.
The new NCAA ruling passed this year allows freshmen the opportunity to compete overseas. Moreover, NCAA regulations allot Richmond 10 practice days to prepare for the tour.
The overseas roster will include the eight returners from last year's squad plus the 2010 freshmen with the exception of walk-on Becca Wann. Injured reserve Sam Bilney will travel but not play.
After arriving in Stockholm Wednesday, the Spiders will visit the "Venice of the North", touring the Royal Castle, City Hall and the Opera House. Richmond plays its first game against Uppsala Basket Thursday, Aug. 12 in Stockholm.
The Spiders then square off against the Solna Vikings Fri. Aug. 13 in their last game in Sweden.
From there, Richmond travels to Norway Aug.14-18. The Spiders will visit the historic Olympic museum in Lillehammer before returning for a game against Ullren Basket on Aug. 15 in Oslo.
"This is a unique opportunity for all of us," said Shafer. "Since it is the first time for any basketball team to travel abroad with freshmen, we did not have a "blueprint" to follow. We have been very pleased with the group's effort to form a working team with only a limited amount of days to practice. We could not be more thankful for this opportunity and look forward to using it toward future successes."
Richmond wraps up its foreign tour against the Ulriken Elit in Bergen on Aug. 18.