Benningfield named to USA Pan Am Games team

Vanderbilt's Jenni Benningfield was among 12 women named Sunday to USA Basketball's Pan American Games team. Benningfield will join stars such as Ann Strother of Connecticut, Nicole Powell of Stanford and Iciss Tillis of Duke on the team which will compete internationally for the United States Aug. 2-9 in the Dominican Republic.

USA Basketball announced today that Vanderbilt senior forward Jenni Benningfield will be one of 12 players representing the United States in the Pan-American Games to be held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 2-9.

Benningfield, who averaged 16.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game last year and recorded 11 double doubles for the season, earned the position after competing against 58 of the top collegiate basketball players in the country in national team trials held over the weekend.

The selection to the national team follows a string of honors following Benningfield's breakout season as a power forward. Besides making the SEC Academic Honors Roll, she was voted second team All-SEC by both the SEC coaches and the AP and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors from the AP.

"It's unbelievable to have the opportunity to represent our country," Benningfield told USA Basketball after her selection on Sunday. "Our team talked about how serious this is and how we need to focus and work hard on our own at home. Like Coach Ryan said, we are going to work very hard but have fun while we're doing it."

Participation on the national team will mean a busy summer for the senior. After returning to Nashville this week, she'll begin a summer internship with the Girl Scout Council of Cumberland Valley. Then training for the Pan-American squad will begin July 17 in Massachusetts, where they'll meet for a series of "friendly games" with the USA, Australian, and Brazilian teams that will be competing in the World Championships for Young Women in Croatia.

After the weekend in Massachusetts, the team will travel to Cuba on July 21 for three exhibition games against Cuba's Pan-Am team. Then they'll return to the United States and train at the University of South Florida before leaving for the Dominican Republic, where the Pan-American games will be held August 2-9.

Debbie Ryan, head coach at the University of Virginia is the head coach for the Pan-Am team. She will be assisted by Kathi Bennett, head coach at Indiana University, Trina Patterson, head coach at the University of Albany.

Other players named to the team are:

6-3 forward Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown)
5-6 point guard Jamie Carey (Texas)
5-10 forward Roneeka Hodges (transferring from LSU)
5-8 guard Laurie Koehn (Kansas State)
6-2 forward/center Janel McCarville (Minnesota)
5-9 guard Loree Moore (Tennessee)
6-2 forward Nicole Powell (Stanford)
6-1 guard Ann Strother (Connecticut)
6-8 center Lindsay Taylor (UC Santa Barbara)
6-4 forward Iciss Tillis (Duke)
6-0 forward Barbara Turner (Connecticut) Top Stories