World’s Best Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Teams Square Off at 2008 North American Cup

June 11, 2008, 2:23 p.m. (ET)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-The top four ranked women's wheelchair basketball teams in the world will be competing at the 2008 North American Cup, June 12-14, at Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site.  This competition is a key test for all teams as they prepare for the upcoming 2008 Paralympic Games.

The U.S. team, currently ranked number two in the world, will face the top-ranked Canadians, #3 Australia and #4 Germany at this year's North American Cup.  This is the second of two major tune-up competitions for these teams as they get ready to play in Beijing. The U.S. just completed an undefeated run through the Joseph F. Lyttle World Basketball Challenge in Warm Springs, Ga.  The Americans claimed the top spot with Germany coming in second, Australia third and Canada fourth.

"North American Cup will cap off an intense two-week stretch for us," said U.S. head coach Ron Lykins (Stillwater, Minn.).  "We had a great week of training before the competition in Warm Springs and performed well in that tournament.  Now, we get to see how we compete when we're a little tired and travel-weary.  That's all great preparation for some of the scenarios we may face in Beijing just a few months from now."

The tournament begins on Thursday, June 12, with games being played at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  On Friday, June 13, games will be played every two hours beginning at 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.  Competition concludes with the championship game on Saturday, June 14, at 5:00 p.m.  All games are free and open to the public.

The U.S. is the defending gold medalists from the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, but lost its number one world ranking to Canada at the 2006 world championships.  The 2008 Paralympic Games will take place September 6-17 in Beijing, China.

Athletes will be available for interviews throughout the weekend.  Please contact Susan Katz, Communications Coordinator, at (205) 313-7434 or with any media requests.

About Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site
Lakeshore Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with physical disabilities through fitness, recreation, and athletics.  These programs help children and adults with physical disabilities maintain healthy and active lifestyles, as well as develop stronger self-esteem and improve independent living skills.  The United States Olympic Committee designated Lakeshore Foundation an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site in 2003.  Along with the nation's other Olympic Training Sites, Lakeshore Foundation plays a critical role in the success of U.S. athletes.  For more information, visit