— “Summitt Cyclists” prepare to ride 1,098 miles in honor of Pat Summitt
KNOXVILLE — 2017–Co-Chair of Pedal for Pat and University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball Hall of Famer Michelle Brooke-Marciniak announced on Tuesday that six WNBA teams are joining the Pedal for Pat fundraising initiative and plan to be involved in the 1,098-mile ride via social media, WNBA Challenge/Pedal for Pat, October 17-28, 2017, to benefit The Pat Summitt Foundation.
“I’m thrilled we have the support of the Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Dallas Wings, Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury and the Seattle Storm during our Pedal for Pat ride,” Brooke-Marciniak said. “The social media followers of these participating women and teams, who have so graciously agreed to join our 1,098 mile ride via their social media channels, will bring additional donations to Pedal For Pat as well as a heightened awareness to Pat’s Foundation and the outstanding work being achieved at the Pat Summitt Alzheimer’s Clinic at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.”
The participants will be battling to see which WNBA team raises the most money supporting the Pedal for Pat initiative. Donations may be made at: http://bit.ly/2wd1Fva and fans can select the team they are donating on behalf of in the friendly competition.
“We are just so excited that six of our WNBA teams have stepped up to join the support for Pedal for Pat and we are thrilled to be representing all basketball players at all levels over the next 12 days,” said Ginny Gilder, a participating Pedal for Pat rider as a 1,098 “Summitt Cyclist” and a co-owner of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.
Four of the participants have a direct connection to Coach Summitt and the Lady Vol program. Amber Stocks, head coach/GM of the Chicago Sky served on Summitt’s staff at UT (2000-2002), working in a variety of roles including Director of Basketball Operations while pursuing her master’s degree. Stocks was part of two regular season SEC Championships (2001, 2002) and on staff when the team advanced to the 2002 Final Four. Stocks will be tweeting on Oct. 18, Day 2 of the ride utilizing @wnbachicagosky, @amber_stocks and #PedalforPatSky on Twitter.
Three of the participants played for Summitt at UT. Tamika Catchings, retired from the Indiana Fever was an All-American with the Lady Vols from 1997–2001 earning Naismith College Player of the Year award, the AP Player of the Year award, the USBWA Women’s National Player of the Year award, and the WBCA Player of the Year award among many others. She spent her entire 15-year career playing for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA winning a WNBA championship (2012), WNBA Most Valuable Player (2011), WNBA Finals MVP (2012), five WNBA Defensive Player of the Year awards, four Olympic gold medals and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2002). She was selected to 10 WNBA All-Star teams, 12 All-WNBA teams, 12 All-Defensive teams and led the league in steals eight times. She is one of nine women to win an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship. Catchings retired after last season and now works in the front office of the Indiana Pacers/Fever organization. Catchings will be tweeting on Oct. 20, Day 4 of the ride at @IndianaFever, @Catchin24 and #PedalforPatFever on Twitter.
Shekinna Stricken of the Connecticut Sun played for the Lady Vols from 2008-12 and was in the final class of four year players coached by Summitt before she stepped down due to her diagnosis of early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s Type. Stricklen was the Wooden Award and Wade Trophy finalist as a senior as well as SEC Player of the Year, SEC Tournament MVP as a junior and earned State Farm All American honors becoming the 20th Lady Volunteer to be so named. As a rookie, she was named Freshman of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Stricklen was the number two overall pick in the 2012 WNBA draft by the Seattle Storm and was acquired by the Connecticut Sun in 2015. Stricklen will be tweeting on Oct. 22, Day 6 of the ride and will be on Twitter at @connecticutsun, @strick40 and #PedalforPatSuns.
Glory Johnson of the Dallas Wings also played for the Lady Vols from 2008-12. Johnson completed her bachelor’s degree in global studies in three years, and earned a master’s degree in communications during her senior year as a Lady Vol. She finished her UT career with double membership in the 1000 point/1000 rebound club with 1,643 points and 1,218 rebounds. As a senior, she was named the 2012 SEC Tournament MVP; captured All-SEC First Team honors from the league’s coaches and the Associated Press; named to the SEC All-Defensive Team and the SEC All-Tournament Team after helping lead the Lady Vols to a second straight SEC league and tournament sweep in 2012. Selected in the first round (fourth overall) by the Tulsa Shock in the 2012 WNBA Draft, she has earned WNBA All-Star (2013, 2014), All-Defensive Second Team (2013), and All-Rookie Team (2012). Currently plays for the Dallas Wings 2016, 2017. Johnson will be tweeting on Oct. 24, Day 8 of the ride at @dallaswings, @missvol25, and #PedalforPatWings.
A pair of WNBA All-Stars, multi named Olympians and All-Americans while starring for the University of Connecticut round out the group. The Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and the Seattle’s Storm’s Sue Bird will also join in the fundraising efforts during Pedal for Pat. Taurasi has won three WNBA championships (2007, 2009, 2014), WNBA Most Valuable Player Award (2009), two WNBA Finals MVP Awards (2009, 2014), four Olympic gold medals, (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), five scoring titles (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2004). She has also been selected to seven WNBA All-Star teams and nine All-WNBA teams. While Bird has won two WNBA championships (2004, 2010), four Olympic gold medals, (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), and led the WNBA in assists three times (2005, 2009, 2016). She has also been selected to nine WNBA All-Star teams and seven All-WNBA teams. The pair were no strangers to the Lady Vols or Coach Summitt during their collective playing careers at UConn from 1998-2004 winning nine of the 13 games between the two schools including four Final Four match-ups. Taurasi will be tweeting on Oct. 26, Day 10 of the ride from @phoenixmercury, @dianataurasi and #PedalforPatMercury. Bird will be tweeting from @seattlestorm, @S10bird and #PedalforPatStorm on Oct. 27, Day 11 of the ride.
The WNBA Challenge/Pedal for Pat winning team will be announced the first week of November.