Women's Basketball Program Forever Changed by Ukraine Tournament - 20 Years Later

BETHANY, Okla. (October 13, 2011) – In late August of this year, over a dozen coaches and players from the 1991-1992 SNU Women’s Basketball team gathered together at the home of Bobby Bolton, SNU Alumnus and former assistant coach, to celebrate the 20-year reunion of the team’s trip overseas.

In 1991, the Women’s Basketball team made a long journey to Kiev, Ukraine to compete in a tournament for the Kiev Cup. This trip was of particular importance due to the impending danger in the neighboring country, Russia.  On the day they landed, Communist tyrants overthrew Russia’s Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. The team was protected and spared from any involvement in the upheaval and later went on to earn a first place trophy that now sits on display at the SNU Sawyer Center. 

“This was a life-changing trip for many of us as we went to a country that is non-Christian and were able to witness to many people. It was great to represent our country and school through basketball and ministry,” says Lori Carter, a player on the 1991 team and current head coach of SNU Women’s Basketball.

This 20th anniversary gathering of the 1991-1992 team was a special time reflecting on successes and achievements and in addition, brought back many memories of this trip together, including touring Red Square and the Kremlin. Carter especially enjoyed “getting to talk about the team memories while catching up with old teammates and friends” as they were reminded of the special times spent together. 

Southern Nazarene celebrates the many memories and achievements of the talented 1991 team and honors the impact of this team on the SNU Women’s Basketball program.  In addition to the tournament, this trip opened the doors for students from Russia to attend SNU and play basketball for the Crimson Storm (formerly, the SNU Redskins.)  In total, four female athletes, Vera Mann, Julia Yunusova, Sasha Seriogina, and Zuzanna Stribrska, came to SNU and were able to continue the legacy that began during the ’91 Ukraine trip.   

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.