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Several top U.S. basketball players have appeared in Israel's women's league over the years, but Sue Bird tops them all.

The 2002 No. 1 WNBA Draft pick and the playmaker for the United States national team will arrive in Israel this morning to join Elitzur Ramle.

The 26-year-old, 1.75m guard, led Connecticut to WNCAA championships in 2000 and 2002 and earned a first place pick by the Seattle Storm with which she won the WNBA championship in 2004.

Bird is a four-time WNBA All-Star and four-time All-WNBA first team pick. In five seasons in the WNBA she has averaged 12.6 points and 5.7 assists.

She won the World Championship with the U.S. in 2002 and an Olympic gold at Athens 2004.

She played the last two winters with Dinamo Moscow in Russia.

Bird is the daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant family.

Ramle mayor Yoel Lavi said: "She surprised us when she sent a mail that she was willing to come here. Her parents are Jewish and she isn't her for the money."

Meanwhile Ramle was in European action yesterday, beating Kastoria of Greece 65-56 in the EuroCup.

Plennete Pierson led Ramle with 19 points and brought down 16 rebounds. Monique Currie added 16 points and Ina Gurevich 14. Michael Epstein went out with an ankle injury.

Hapoel Tel Aviv booked its place in the next round of the competition with a 74-70 win over another Greek side, Appolon Ptolemeida.

Ramat Hasharon was to have hosted Vrsac last night, but the Serb team was held up because of the strike at Ben Gurion Airport and the game will be held this afternoon.