Doug Bruno Writes from Colorado Springs 6/24

DePaul women's basketball coach Doug Bruno is currently in Colorado Springs, Colo. as head coach of the USA Basketball Women's U18 team in preparation for the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women. The United States is host of the tournament that starts on June 28 in Colorado Springs. Pool play runs June 28-30 followed by the Medal Rounds, July 1-2.

The United States is in Group A with Brazil, Dominican Republic and Paraguay while Group B consists of Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. The top three teams in the tournament qualify for the 2007 FIBA U19 Women's World Championship in Bratislava, Slovakia. When he has a few minutes, Coach Bruno will check in here with his thoughts and experiences.

Saturday, June 24th

Competed against Canada last evening. Beat them by 12 after being up 26 points with just 3:00 minutes to go. Our players in the game at the end of the game got complacent and let Canada go on a late run. I became educated, by Carol Callan who runs USA Basketball for women, as to just how intense the rivalry is between the USA and Canada. Canada had never qualified for ANY Basketball World Championship until 2004 and in the last two years has beaten two different USA Basketball Teams.

This Canadian Women's 18's team is a very good team. Their players remind me of the two players from Utah that just got drafted by the WNBA. DePaul fans might remember Kim Smith and the Utah guard named Shona Thorburn, as they helped Utah beat us in the NCAA tourney in 2003 at NC State. If we stay the course and do what we are capable of doing, I predict that it will be a USA-Canada Gold Medal Game on Sunday, June 2nd.

Just as USA rose to meet the Canadian challenge in Hockey in 1980 in what has become known as "The Miracle on Ice", so to is Canada working very intensely to catch up with USA in basketball. This phenomina of another country trying to catch USA in hoops is not simply confined to Canada. The entire world is now on a mission to beat USA at all levels of hoops. This was most evident in Athens in '04 when our NBA guys lost to Argentina.

The exhibition game vs. Canada was held at the Fort Carson Army base where over 3,000 men and women are in training to depoy to Iraq. Many of these soldiers have already been to Iraq on more than one occassion. We played in front of a good crowd of soldiers and their families. The post Comandant, General Mixon, came into our locker room before the game and welcomed our team and spoke of Maggie Dixon. Maggie's impact has been felt not just out at West Point, but throughout the U.S. Army. There was a moment of silence for Maggie before the game. This was my first game coaching with a pre-game anthem since Maggie has passed away. Quite an emotional moment for any of us that knew Maggie.

Following the game all of the players and coaches signed autographs for all of the soldiers and their families. Reminded me of how our DePaul players sign autographs after every game!!!

More to come!!

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