RENO, Nev. - Women's basketball superstar and Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie will be the keynote speaker at the University of Nevada's 14th annual Salute to Champions Dinner and Silent Auction. The year's event, which is put on by Nevada Athletics and Pack PAWS (Promoting and Advancing Women in Sports), is scheduled for Wednesday, April 8, 2009 in the Tuscany Ballroom at the Peppermill Casino Resort in Reno.
The annual event is presented by Dr. Nazir and Dr. Mary Ansari and is sponsored by the E.L. Cord Foundation, IGT, McDonald Carano Wilson LLP and the Whispering Vine Wine Company. Cocktails and the silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
On her way to becoming the best female basketball player of all time, Leslie has played professionally for 11 years. Leslie recently won her fourth gold medal at the Olympics in Beijing, China in 2008. She was also a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic teams in 1996, 2000, and 2004. In 2001, Leslie was the first WNBA player to win the regular-season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP awards in the same season. That year, she also led the Los Angeles Sparks to their first WNBA championship. In 2002, she became the WNBA's all-time leading scorer and was again named MVP of the WNBA Championship and All-Star games. Leslie was also the first woman to slam dunk in a professional game.
In 2002, Leslie helped the Sparks win their second straight world championship, winning the WNBA MVP Award that year and again in 2006. She became a commentator for ESPN in 2004, covering the NCAA Women's Tournament. Leslie sat out the 2007 WNBA season as she and her husband welcomed their first child in June. In May 2008, Leslie released her book, Don't Let the Lipstick Fool You: The Making of a Champion, which illustrates how she became a notable athlete and, ultimately, a champion.
Leslie played college basketball at the University of Southern California and graduated with her degree in communications in December 1997. Leslie and the Lady Trojans made trips to the NCAA tournament each year of her four-year collegiate career. She still owns the Pac-10 record for scoring (2,414) and rebounds (1,214). Leslie also holds USC records foe blocks in a single season (95) and career (321). As a senior, she was the consensus National Player of the Year. Leslie also earned All-America honors in 1993 and 1994. Leslie is also the only player in Pac-10 history to receive all-conference first team honors four times. After college, Leslie launched her modeling career, signing with the prestigious Wilhemina Agency in 1996.
Nevada will also honor Dr. Jean Perry, Special Assistant to the University President for Athletics Academics and Compliance, with the Pride of Nevada award and Rachel Miles, a student at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School, with the Youth Champion award at this year's dinner.
Tickets for the Salute to Champions dinner are $125 per person and $75 for youths 12 and under purchased with an adult ticket. Table packages that include VIP reception tickets are available for $2500 and $1250, while fans can also sponsor a student's attendance at the dinner for $100.
For more information, click on the Special Events link at www.nevadawolfpack.com or call Heather Pennington at (775) 682-6965.