Seattle University women's basketball senior Talisa Rhea (Juneau, Alaska) has been invited to play in China on an All-Star team sponsored by the United States Basketball Academy (USBA). The team is comprised of graduating seniors from the United States and the team will be in China from Apr. 25 - May 9. During the 14 day tour, the team will play three games each in three different cities versus the Junior National Teams from China, Australia, and New Zealand.
"I have never been on an international trip to play or even to travel, so I am very excited to experience a different area of the world," said Rhea. "I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to not only travel to a new country, but to do so playing basketball and experiencing international competition."
The team's first stop will be Qijiang, China, where they will first face New Zealand on Apr. 27, followed by Australia on Apr. 28, and China on Apr. 29. The next stop will be Zhong County, where they will face New Zealand on May 1, China on May 2, and Australia on May 3. The final stop will be Xiangyang, where they will play Australia on May 5, New Zealand on May 6, and China on May 7.
"This is a tremendous opportunity and reward for Talisa," said Seattle U head women's basketball coach Joan Bonvicini. "Playing on this All-Star team is a once in a lifetime experience and we are all so very proud of her."
Chris Denker will coach the team, assisted by Ryan Johnson. Denker is a consultant to teams all over the world who scouts professional, collegiate, and international basketball to help teams find the best players. He has also previously served as the Head Coach and Director of Operations for the Eugene Chargers and spent 14 years as an NCAA women's basketball head coach at Santa Clara and Colorado State.
"The decision to choose Talisa Rhea for this team was an easy one," said Denker. "With an all-star team, the assumption is that all of the players can score to some degree, but we wanted players who made their teammates better, had versatile skills, an unselfish attitude, and who play some defense. From what I could gather in my research, that is Talisa in a nutshell."
The other members of the team are as follows: Katie Bussey (Montana State), ReZina TecleMariam (University of Portland), Casey Garrison (Missouri State), Rebekah Gardner (UCLA), Jasmin Holliday (Oregon), Natalie Day (University of Portland), Jalana Childs (Kansas State), Rachael Hackbarth (Drake), and Kali Bennett (Arizona State).