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Basketball - 28. February 2011.

USA/GBR – Manchester to host first-ever WNBA game in Europe

MANCHESTER (NBA/WNBA/2012 London Olympics) – The NBA is currently running ‘Basketball Week’ in the United Kingdom and on Monday had great news for basketball fans in the city of Manchester with the announcement of a multi-year partnership that will provide them with the opportunity to catch live action from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) as well as the USA men’s and women’s teams.

On 29th May, the Manchester Evening News Arena (MEN) will play host to “WNBA Live – Manchester 2011”, marking the first time in the league’s 15-year history that a game is played in Europe. 2010 WNBA finalists Atlanta Dream will face an opponent to be named at a later date.

The Dream boast a number of leading international players. Angel McCoughtry (pictured), the 2009 WNBA Rookie of the Year, helped the USA to a gold medal at last summer’s FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic. Her Dream team-mates include Sancho Lyttle – who took bronze with Spain in Karlovy Vary – and Iziane Castro Marques of Brazil.

The partnership will also see USA Basketball men’s and women’s national teams – both gold medal winners at the 2008 Beijing Olympics – play a Global Community Cup tour game in July 2012 at the MEN as part of their preparations for the London Olympics.

Finally, in the autumn of 2013, the first-ever NBA pre-season game played in the UK outside of London will take place.

“We are delighted to bring NBA, WNBA, and USA Basketball games to the internationally renowned sports city of Manchester.  This comprehensive schedule of premier basketball events will help grow the sport for years to come,” said NBA Europe Senior Vice President Sophie Goldschmidt.

“This partnership shows our ongoing commitment to deepen basketball’s footprint in the country.”

“Manchester has a rich sporting heritage, so it is fitting to be welcoming the NBA to the City for this ground breaking series of events,” said Councillor Michael Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Sport.

Basketball fans in the UK can get their fix for the game with NBA Basketball Week – which consists of activities and clinics held in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield – culminating in a double-header between the Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Nets at the O2 Arena on Friday and Saturday 4th and 5th March.

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