The Bowling Green State University women's basketball team will capitalize on having 12 returning players by taking the first foreign tour in program history later this summer.
The Falcons will travel to Costa Rica Aug. 12-20 to play four games, taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows teams to go outside the country in the offseason once every four years. The team is allowed 10 days of practice beforehand.
"We're going to have fun and try some different things," BGSU coach Curt Miller said. "It's going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
The trip for the five-time defending Mid-American Conference regular-season champions will be funded through fundraising efforts and a lead gift from an anonymous donor. Incoming freshmen are not allowed to make the trip.
"Over the last few years we've been wanting to do this, and we focused in on this year knowing we had a lot of returning players," Miller said.
The team will visit San Jose, the nation's capital, and San Ramon. One game will be against the Costa Rican national team, and the Falcons hope to schedule postgame clinics for children and a hospital visit.
With the 2009-10 nonconference schedule "the toughest in our current coaching staff's tenure and maybe in school history," Miller said, the practices and trip will give BGSU a head start. The Falcons are one of 16 teams in the preseason WNIT field and also play on the road at Vanderbilt, Hartford, Oakland, Canisius and St. Bonaventure. Vanderbilt will play at Anderson Arena in the 2010-11 season.
"Some of the games won't be a huge challenge, but we'll already have benefited from the practices before we leave," Miller said.
Sophomore Jessica Slagle is still recovering from an ACL injury and won't play.
Senior Tara Breske had offseason knee surgery but will be at full strength by then.
The Falcons have four returning starters from last year's 29-5 squad. The practices will be important for transfers senior Tamika Nurse and junior Maggie Hennegan, who sat out last year because of NCAA rules.
Fourteen of the Falcons' 15 players are enrolled in the second summer school session starting later this month. The other, Nurse, is completing an internship in Arizona and staying with family, including uncle Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles.
MILLER JOINS WBCA BOARD: Miller was named to the Women's Basketball Coaches' Association board of directors, the WBCA announced yesterday. Miller is on the board of directors as a Division I at-large member.
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