After dominating Big West competition over the past couple of seasons, Lindsay Taylor and Kristen Mann will try their luck against some of the best athletes that the world can offer.
Senior-to-be center Lindsay Taylor and junior-to-be swingman Kristen Mann of the UCSB women’s basketball team will represent the red, white and blue after being selected to play with USA Basketball in international competition this summer.
Both Gauchos competed in a grueling four-day tryout, which concluded on Sunday, at the United States Olympic Development Program headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. A total of 58 of the nation’s premier amateur women’s basketball players were invited to the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Trials with just 24 spots available divided among two squads.
Santa Barbara was one of just five schools – along with Duke, University of Connecticut, Kansas State and University of Minnesota – that sent more than one of its girls to the tryouts.
Taylor, the 2003 Big West Player of the Year, earned a spot on the Women’s National Team and will compete at the Pan American Games on Aug. 2-9 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Mann, the 2002 Big West Freshman of the Year and a 2003 First Team All-Big West selection, snagged a spot on the USA Basketball Women’s Collegiate Committee, which will travel to Sibenik, Croatia, from July 23 to Aug. 3 to represent the U.S. in the International Basketball Federation World Championships for Young Women.
The 6’8″ Taylor will begin training on July 17 in Boston, Mass., under the instruction of University of Virginia Head Coach Debbie Ryan. The team is scheduled to play a few international scrimmage contests before heading to Cuba for three exhibition games against the Cuban Pan Am Games Team.
“I feel very lucky and very blessed to be here and I feel very lucky to make a team,” Taylor said.
Mann, also a first baseman for the successful 2003 UCSB softball team, is the only member of the 12-player roster not selected as a 2002-03 All-American. Ohio State University Head Coach Jim Foster will head the squad, which is limited to competitors 21 years of age or younger. Foster will begin training in Colorado Springs on July 7 before heading to New York City and Boston to entertain scrimmages against various Pan Am Games opponents.
“At Santa Barbara, we’re up and coming so hopefully this, for Lindsay and me to make both teams, I think it will help to get our name out there and get some more recognition for our school.”
The only other Gaucho to ever earn a roster spot with the USA Basketball team was Erin Buescher , who helped the U.S. earn the gold medal in the R. William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan, following her freshman season during the summer of 1998.