Jan. 9, 2004
OKLAHOMA CITY - USA Softball announced today the list of 15 players, including five former Bruins, that will be submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee as the team to represent the U.S. in Athens. Also announced was a 14-member Elite Team, which also includes five Bruins, that will compete at the 2004 Canada Cup, U.S. Champions Cup, and other events to be announced.
The Olympic Team, which will train for the next seven months in preparation of defending its gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, includes five former Bruins. That group includes Lisa Fernandez, Amanda Freed, Tairia Mims Flowers, Stacey Nuveman and Natasha Watley. Chosen from an 18-member team selected September 8, 2003, the 15-players will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee as the team to represent the U.S. in 2004.
A complete list can be found on www.usasoftball.com. Brief biographical information on UCLA players is as follows:
Lisa Fernandez, Long Beach, Calif. ? Right-handed pitcher Lisa Fernandez, who is widely regarded as the best softball player in the world, makes her third Olympic team. She has pitched in last two Olympic and World Championship gold medal games.
Amanda Freed, Cypress, Calif. ? A 2000 Olympic team alternate, Amanda Freed joins the 2004 Olympic roster as an outfielder/pitcher after taking home the gold at the 2003 Pan American Games. In 2002, she also led the USA Softball National team to the ISF World Championship title.
Tairia Flowers (formerly Mims), Tucson, Ariz. ? A utility player at first base, third base and catcher, Flowers joins her first Olympic squad after three national teams. She is a 2002 World Champion and 2003 Pan Am gold medalist. She was named the Most Valuable Player at the Japan Cup last November.
Stacey Nuveman, La Verne, Calif. ? Catcher Stacey Nuveman was an integral part in the USA's come back during the 2000 Olympic Games. In the playoffs versus China she blasted the game winning home run and drove in the tying run in the gold medal game versus Japan.
Natasha Watley, Irvine, CA. ? A highly recognized shortstop, Natasha Watley joins her first Olympic team after three National team appearances. She took home the 2002 World title and 2003 Pan American title. She was honored in 2003 by the NCAA as the Top Collegiate Female athlete and finished the 2003 season batting .432 in the lead-off spot for Team USA.
The 2004 Women's National Elite team was chosen from the USA Softball player pool and will represent the U.S. in the 2004 Canada Cup, U.S. Champions Cup and other events to be scheduled.
Eight of the players named were members of the 2003 Junior Women's World Championship team who captured the silver medal in October in Nanjing, China, including all five Bruins.
As the National Governing Body of Softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting women's, men's, junior girls' and junior boys' National Teams that compete in international and domestic competitions. USA Softball is one of the only two women's sports to capture back-to-back gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996.