ON POINT FEATURE
Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team: Success & Challenges Ahead
Canada’s senior women’s basketball team is ranked an impressive ninth in the world. With last year being such a success – bringing home a silver at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championships – the women have plenty to look forward to as they prepare for the 2014 FIBA World Championships this upcoming September.
The team has veterans like Kim Gaucher and Shona Thorburn returning, and their experience is key in the team’s performance. With Tamara Tatham’s ability to score and Kia Nurse’s energy and youth, scoring will not be a problem for Team Canada either. Many of these women have also been playing overseas, bringing a high level of knowledge and skill at the international level to the promising squad.
A downfall to all of the positivity surrounding this team; however, is the loss of centre Natalie Achonwa due to a torn ACL. Her injury happened during Notre Dame’s March Madness run this year; an injury that will unfortunately prevent the talented player from playing at worlds.
Achonwa was a huge part in the team’s success last year. She averaged 7.5 points, 5 rebounds and shot 46.3 percent. Achonwa’s well-rounded performance was an obvious help in the team’s success in the tournament. In this year’s WNBA draft, Achonwa went 9th overall to the Indiana Fever.
Coach Lisa Lisa Thomaidis is confident that the team will succeed, despite the loss of one of their top players. Coach Thomaidis has confirmed that WNBA player and Team Canada vet. Michelle Plouff will be back and locked in for worlds. And with Coach Thomaidis’ vision and strategy that we have already been witness too, I don’t think these women will have a problem working their way to the top.
The senior women’s schedule for the summer is as follows:
June 9 – Training camp begins in Edmonton
June 26-28 – Three-game exhibition series against the No.7 ranked Brazil
August 4 – second training camp in Edmonton begins
September 7-12 – third training camp in Edmonton
September 27-Oct 5 – FIBA World Championship in Turkey
The team will be looking to build on the success they had last year. The Team Canada squad went undefeated in the FIBA Americas Championships until the championship game, where they lost a hard-fought battle to Cuba. Their determination was evident throughout each match of the tournament. The summer is going to require a lot of hard work and determination in preparing for the next step of FIBA World Championships, but there still remains a talented, gritty squad to perform and proudly represent our country.
What do you think the outcome will be for Team Canada?
Words by Brittany Tougher