Ciao Italy! Women’s college hoops teams taking trips

By DOUG FEINBERG

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK — Italy is the popular destination for women’s basketball teams this summer.

Nearly a dozen colleges are spending some time in Italy this month, including UConn, Texas, Michigan, Florida State and Duke.

“Through word of mouth, we’ve heard it’s an awesome trip,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “Great history, food, great scenery . It’s the one the teams all have talked about.”

College teams are allowed to take foreign trips once every four years, and it seems Italy is where most teams want to go. Aston was planning to take her team there a few years ago. But some key players had offseason surgeries, so the trip was postponed.

“The most beneficial thing is there’s bonding and not stress,” she said. “We spend time together and you’re not in a heated environment.”

Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico went to Italy a few years ago with her team and was happy to go back.

“The food is outstanding and we don’t have to worry about what the kids will eat,” she said. “Also for us, most of our team has never left the country. So this gives them the chance to see some of the places they’ve read about in history books.”

Barnes Arico is bringing her daughters and mother along on the trip. Her son won’t be traveling overseas — the high school sophomore has a chance to play with his football team at The Big House.

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