Feb. 20, 2007
PARK RIDGE, IL – After a successful inaugural event that hosted more than 300 fans and several media outlets last season, the Big Ten Conference and the Indiana Sports Corporation will host the second annual “Talk of the Town” on Saturday, March 3. The event, which runs from 2:30-4:00 p.m. ET and is open to both media and the public, will take place on the off-day of the 2007 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360. “Talk of the Town” will feature a public question and answer segment and autograph session involving coaches and selected players from the four tournament semifinal participants, as well as a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Big Ten Women’s Championships.
The event will take place at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, located above the intersection of Illinois and Washington Streets and is accessible through Circle Centre Mall. A unique opportunity for both media and the general public to hear from the four remaining Big Ten Tournament semifinalists, coaches will field questions from the public and be available to media for one-on-one interviews from 2:30-3:30 p.m., while the student-athletes take part in the autograph session. At 3:30 p.m., selected student-athletes will become available to the media for 30 minutes, but will remain at the autograph table if no interview requests are made.
Also scheduled to appear are five conference standouts from the past 25 years of Big Ten women’s basketball. The 1980s will be represented by Tracey (Hall) Yarbrough, who was the conference’s first two-time All-American during her stint at Ohio State. Yarbrough was the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year in 1985 and was named the conference’s Player of the Year in both 1986 and 1987. She was also selected to the Big Ten’s All-Decade first team for its 10-year celebration during the 1991-92 season.
Fellow Buckeye Katie Smith will represent the 1990s as she was the 1996 Big Ten Player of the Year and went on to claim an Olympic gold medal on both the 2000 and 2004 Team USA squads. She is the all-time leading scorer in U.S. women’s professional basketball (WNBA and ABA) with 5,682 points and is second on the conference’s career scoring chart with 2,578 points. Last summer, the seven-time WNBA All-Star helped the Detroit Shock to the 2006 WNBA Championship.
Two former Big Ten student-athletes will represent the third and most recent decade of Big Ten women’s basketball. Kelly Komara starred at Purdue from 1999-2002 and was a member of the conference’s lone national championship team as the Boilermakers claimed the 1999 NCAA title. Following another run at the national championship in 2001, when the Boilermakers finished runner-up to Notre Dame, Komara earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2002 and was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. Komara is currently in her first year as an assistant coach at Northwestern. Angelina Williams will also be in attendance as she was an All-Big Ten standout at Illinois from 2002-05. Williams earned first-team All-Conference accolades in 2005 and is currently a WNBA teammate of Smith’s on the World Champion Detroit Shock.
In addition, current Big Ten women’s basketball television analyst Suzie McConnell-Serio will also be at the event. Prior to Penn State joining the conference in 1991, McConnell-Serio was a standout for the Lady Lions from 1985-88 and ended her career as the NCAA’s all-time career assists leader (men’s or women’s) with 1,307 dishes. The former WNBA player retired to the sidelines in 2000 and later became the league’s Coach of the Year in 2004 during a three-year stint with the Minnesota Lynx. For the past two seasons, McConnell-Serio has served as the Big Ten’s lead women’s basketball color analyst on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
In addition to the autograph session, basketball fans will also be able to roam the Artsgarden and view artwork from participants of the Big Ten Tournament Middle School Program. This year, over 2,500 students from 32 middle schools representing a variety of Indianapolis and area schools were given the opportunity to submit artwork for the annual Middle School Program T-shirt. Each student in the program is given a free ticket to Friday’s games and encouraged to wear the artistic T-shirt and cheer for the team their school has been assigned. The top 10 T-shirt designs, including the winner, will be on display at the Artsgarden, with participants and their families invited to attend.
The event is easily accessible to fans of all ages and is located next to the Circle Centre Mall food court. Although parking is available in a number of parking garages attached to Circle Centre Mall, the Artsgarden is easily accessible by foot from Conseco Fieldhouse and downtown hotels and restaurants.