This post was written by contributing sports editor Nora Priniciotti
For the first time in more than a decade, the women’s basketball team will take a trip to Europe.
The squad will travel to England and France from Aug. 13 to 23 to see the sights and play in exhibition games against European teams, the athletic department announced Tuesday.
Women’s basketball has not traveled internationally since it took a tour of Italy and Switzerland in 2001, but will boast plenty of stamps on their passports by the end of the year, with a tournament in the Bahamas also scheduled for Thanksgiving break.
“[The trip will] greatly enhance our team chemistry by giving our returning players and incoming freshmen an early opportunity to bond while also playing strong international competition,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said in a release.
The team will first head to London, where the women will go on guided tours of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, take a ride on the London Eye and sightsee on a cruise on the River Thames.
GW already took home top marks in the Revolutionary Rivalry with George Mason, but the Colonials will hope to stage a reenactment of the Battle at Yorktown in a game against Barking Abbey, a London-based team.
International tensions will ease, however, with a Colonials youth clinic for Barking Abbey’s younger players.
They will then travel to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the River Seine before departing by train for Marseille and traveling along the French Riviera through Nice and the Principality of Monaco.
Athletic director Patrick Nero said in a release that giving student-athletes who can not study abroad the chance to travel internationally is a priority for his department.
“While we of course hope this trip allows the women’s basketball team to build on a successful season this past year, more importantly we hope that the experience our student-athletes will gain from an international tour broadens their horizons and enriches their lives,” Nero said.
After their final dinner in Nice, the Colonials will fly home and get to work stateside in preparation for the 2014-15 season, building off their first Atlantic 10 Championship semifinal appearance since 2008 and their nine-win improvement from last season.