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Thorne to serve as head coach of the 2009 USA Basketball team

April 30, 2009

Arizona State University head women's basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne will serve as head coach of the 2009 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team, with Suzy Merchant of Michigan State University and Julie Rousseau of Pepperdine University serving as assistant coaches, USA Basketball announced on Thursday. The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

"The coaching staff for the World University Games Team is an outstanding group of coaches, who have been highly successful and will bring a wealth of experience to the players on the team," said Sue Donohoe, chair of the Women's Junior National Team Committee. "These young women will have a remarkable experience and will learn a great deal, both on and off the court, from Charli Turner Thorne, Suzy Merchant and Julie Rousseau."

"I'm very honored and excited to have been selected to coach such a prestigious team," Turner Thorne said. "Two years ago I had my first coaching opportunity with USA Basketball and had a tremendous experience working with the players and staff. I am looking forward to representing my country and Arizona State University. I feel very fortunate that I'll get to work with an outstanding coaching staff. As I have learned at ASU, it is great when you can have head coaches working with you and I know I will learn a lot from both Suzy and Julie."

The winningest coach in Arizona State University history and No. 4 in the Pacific-10 Conference in career wins, Turner Thorne returns to USA Basketball in her first head coach position. In 2007 she traveled to Moscow, Russia, as an assistant coach with the 2007 USA Women's U21 National Team and helped the USA to an 8-0 record and gold medal. The U.S. also posted a 3-0 exhibition slate versus France's U21 national team prior to the competition.

"I'm looking forward to getting to know Suzy (Merchant) even better this summer," Turner Thorne said. "I have the utmost respect for her and what she has already accomplished at Michigan State. It will be a huge benefit for the team having a coach on the bench with her energy, enthusiasm and knowledge.

"I am also excited to be reunited with my Southern California friend Julie. We had some good battles on the basketball court growing up in high school in OGDL (AAU) and Far West Summer League. We have become good friends and professional peers. I am looking forward to her bringing all of the elements to our team that have made her such a successful coach throughout her career."

At the helm of the Sun Devils since 1996-97, Turner Thorne has posted a 251-154 slate (.612 winning percentage) in her 13 seasons in Tempe, Ariz. She has led Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament seven times in the past nine years, including the past five seasons. Overall, in 16 seasons as a head coach, Turner Thorne owns a 291-194 record (.600 winning percentage).

Most recently, Turner Thorne's 2008-09 squad compiled a 26-9 record, reached the Elite Eight for the second time in the past three seasons and earned a No. 12 rank in the final USA Today/ESPN poll. With 26 wins, Turner Thorne joined former Washington head coach Chris Gobrecht and current Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer as the only coaches in Pac-10 history (since 1986-87) to have led their respective schools to at least five consecutive 20-win seasons.

The World University Games is a multi-sport competition organized by the International University Sports Federation and held every other year. The 2009 women's basketball competition will take place July 1-11 in Belgrade, Serbia. Eligible athletes for the USA team must be currently enrolled in a college or university and have remaining NCAA athletic eligibility.

Trials to select finalists for the 2009 USA Basketball Women's World University Games Team will be held May 14-17 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The finalists will return to Colorado Springs on June 18 for training camp and train in Colorado until the team departs for Belgrade on June 25. The 12-member team will be named prior to the team's departure for Serbia.

In addition to Donohoe (NCAA Vice President for Division I Women's Basketball), the 2009-2012 Women's Junior National Team Committee, formerly known as the Women's Collegiate Committee, includes NCAA appointees Joanne Boyle (head coach, University of California), Coquese Washington (head coach, Penn State University) and Connie Yori (head coach, University of Nebraska); and athlete representative Beth Cunningham (head coach, Virginia Commonwealth University), a member of the 1999 USA Pan American Games Team.