The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team is off to a hot start in Tenerife, Spain

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team is 2-0 after two wins in group play against Korea and Greece over the weekend. This is a great start for the senior team who hopes to medal during these World Championships. Kia Nurse is off to a hot start as she has averaged nearly 20.5 (!!!) points per game in the two wins. Team Canada will face France to decide the winner of Group A tomorrow in the final game of the group phase. This game should be very interesting and can be viewed on Dazn OR livebasketball.tv

Listed below are the two box scores and game highlights from both games.

BOX SCORE 0F CANADA VS GREECE

Game highlights of Canada vs Greece

BOX SCORE OF CANADA VS KOREA

Game highlights of Canada vs Korea

 

My final thoughts on the 2018 WNBA season

Wow. I cannot believe the 2018 WNBA season is over. It seems surreal to me that the time just flew by. It feels like it was just yesterday that the 2018 WNBA season got underway. It was by far the most fastest, hectic, rewarding and amazing season. The Twitter support I received along with writing articles for Hashtag Basketball made the season go faster than normal for me. It was a ton of fun writing and interacting with people via on Twitter. Thank you to everyone who took time to read my articles. It meant the world to me. This season was by far the most fulfilling season for me on a personal level because I got to connect with a new basketball audience that was not there in previous seasons. I got to reach out to other basketball fans and try to bridge the gap between the WNBA and other sports fans. It was so nice to see other outlets cover the WNBA in their own unique way and try to bring more coverage forward. I am so thankful for each and everyone of you who also viewed this blog when looking for updates. The blog was not frequently as updated as in previous seasons, but I will have coverage of the upcoming FIBA Women’s World Championship — specifically for Team Canada.

Thanks for always tweeting, reading, commenting, interacting on various mediums on the WNBA this year. I may have not always replied, but I always appreciated. Thank you to everyone for the constant support. I appreciate you all!

Best wishes,

Aneela

 

 

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team – Road to the FIBA World Cup Part III

NOTE: The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team has qualified for the upcoming FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup taking place from Sept 22 – 30th in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Leading up to the event, every month there will be a preview on the Canadian team.

TORONTO – The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team is back in action. Today, they kicked off the start of their training camp where the invited players will have a chance to compete for a spot on the World Championship team.

The Canadian team is currently ranked 5th in the world and have a great shot to medal at the upcoming World Championships, so picking the right roster is very important.

I have already discussed in previous months, who I think will make the roster and what the expectations are heading into the World Championships, so for this post, I will take a closer look at the competition for the Canadians.

There are 16 teams that have qualified for the FIBA World Championships and are divided into four groups. In Group A, the Canadians will face off against Korea, Greece and France. France will be the toughest country to battle for the Canadians as they have premier talent in Olivia Époupa and Céline Dumerc. Korea and Greece are still growing their women’s basketball programs and the Canadians should be able to fare well against them in group play.

In Group B, Australia, Turkey, Argentina and Nigeria face off. Australia looks to be the leader as they have a solid roster led by premier talent in Liz Cambage. Australia is a traditional basketball powerhouse and will look to continue their dominance in this group. The hardest competition that Australia will face is against Turkey. Turkey has improved vastly over the years in women’s basketball as they finished fourth in the 2014 world championships. They are led by Işıl Alben and Quanitra Hollingsworth. Look for the Australia vs Turkey games to be competitive.

In Group C, Japan, Puerto Rico, Belgium and Spain face off. Spain will be the leader in this group as they have also improved vastly over the years and were the silver medal winners in the 2016 Olympics. They also came first in last year’s Eurobasket competition. Japan and Puerto Rico are still continuing to improve their women’s national team program. Belgium is starting to be competitive and are led by Emma Messeman. However, Spain has been dominant as of late and should easily win this group.

Finally in the last group which is Group D, Latvia, Senegal, China and the headliner of the field, the United States face off. The clear cut winner of this group is the United States. They have premier talent in Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tina Charles, etc. They should have an easy time winning this group as the rest of the teams in this group have a ways to go before they can compete with the United States.

The Canadians clearly have their work cut out for them. After training camp, they go on to play in exhibition games against Japan (Sept. 7th) and the United States (Sept. 8th) in Webster’s Bank Arena in Connecticut. After the two game exhibition series, the Canadians will travel to France to play in a four game mini tournament against France, Senegal and the US (again) for two days. (Sept 15th- 17th)

The road to the FIBA World Championships countdown is on. There are 22 days left until the competition starts so the Canadians need to be ready to play.

WNBA Draft Lottery — Who will win the #1 overall pick?

The 2019 WNBA Draft Lottery will take place tonight during half time of the WNBA semi final game 2 (Washington vs Atlanta). The four worst teams in the league this season have the opportunity to grab a great college player in yet another deep WNBA draft class.

The four worst teams this season were the Indiana Fever, Chicago Sky, Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty. The lottery rules have shifted and instead of the 1 year record, it now accounts for 2 years (or seasons). So, this means that the Fever and the Sky have the best odds of landing a top 2 pick. The Las Vegas Aces improved significantly this season but can still land a top 3 pick. The “worst” odds out of all the teams belongs to the New York Liberty. The Liberty were great in 2017, and that great year will affect them for this draft lottery. However, it should be noted that finishing fourth in this year’s lottery is not that bad. There are a ton of talented players available and the Liberty should fare well.

Keeping all that in mind, I believe that lottery drawings are a luck of the draw. The Indiana Fever REALLY need this top pick and would be thrilled to have it. However, I do not think the Fever will win tonight. I have a feeling it will be the Chicago Sky who come away with the #1 overall pick. I think the Fever will pick #2, the Aces at #3 and the Liberty at #4 overall. (I could be totally wrong, and it could just be the Fever who finally manage to win the #1 overall pick)

Whatever team will end up winning the #1 overall pick in 2019, they will have plenty of talented senior college players to choose from. Players such as Teaira McCowan, Asia Durr, Arike Ogunbowale, Katie Lou Samuelson, Napheesa Collier, Kalani Brown and more. I tracked all of the college players for two years running and here was the latest on who the top overall junior player was for 2018.

This could change a WNBA teams fortune. So, who do you think will win the #1 overall pick? Tune in tonight to find out!

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team – Road to the FIBA World Cup Part II

Kia Nurse, Photo courtesy of Canada Basketball

NOTE: The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team has qualified for the upcoming FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup taking place from Sept 22 – 30th in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Leading up to the event, every month there will be a preview on the Canadian team. Last month, it was about Canada’s expectations for the World Championships. You can read it here.

Toronto – The road to the FIBA World Cup is still three months away, but that does not mean that the preparations have not started for the teams. In this preview, we will take a closer look at the Team Canada roster and who could be a part of it come September.

The following players were apart of the National FIBA AmeriCup roster last year that won the FIBA Americas.

Miranda Ayim, Bridget Carleton, Shay Colley, Nirra Fields, Ruth Hamblin, Sami Hill, Miah-Marie Langlois, Kia Nurse, Katherine Plouffe, Michelle Plouffe, Jamie Scott and Laura Dally.

All in all, 12 players made the Senior Women’s team roster. But, there were some important players missing. Some were not able to compete due to the WNBA schedule.  Some had college commitments.

If I take a closer look at the roster, I think about 8 or 9 of the above players will make the 2018 FIBA World Cup roster. It will also depend on how they play in training camp, which is known as Phase I and Phase 2.  If you look closely, you will see a familiar name missing in the roster. Natalie Achonwa is missing and she was unable to play last year due to her Indiana Fever commitments. Other players such as Kayla Alexander can crack the roster.  There are a ton more Canadian college players who are playing in the NCAA or CIS that could crack the final roster.

In order for Team Canada to do well in the FIBA World Cup, they will need a roster that needs the following: stars, glue players, defenders, and the sixth woman. Canada will get tested against the likes of other teams who have already begun practicing for the championships.

If I were to guess the final roster, it would like the following:

Miranda Ayim

Natalie Achonwa

Bridget Carleton

Miah Marie – Langlois

Nirra Fields

Ruth Hamblin

Kia Nurse

Katherine Plouffe

Michelle Plouffe

I think those names that I have listed above are guaranteed locks to make the roster. Most of them already have extensive Team Canada experience which should bode well for them in order to make the team. I have four spots left which I believe are wide open and there for the taking. Whoever plays well in the training camps and make an impression will be on the final roster.

The 2018 WNBA Season at the first quarter point.

A'ja Wilson

The 2018 WNBA season has now reached the quarter point of the season as a large majority of teams have played 10 or 11 games now. Only Phoenix has played up to 13 games (the most in the WNBA, currently). A month of WNBA games has flown by in this condensed schedule, which has meant craziness around the league. Let’s break it down in terms of what teams have stood out, what players have excelled and those that have not yet so far. There’s still a lot of season left to be played, but at this point, we are starting to see what potential playoff and championship contenders could be.

Team(s) that have stood out:

The Connecticut Sun stood out in the very early part of the season before the schedule as well as injuries caught up to them. They were in first place for the start of the season but now have lost three straight and sit in fourth place overall. The Los Angeles Sparks have been the steadying force and as a result of other teams slipping up, they are now in first place. They’ve been solid and playing to their expectation level as many thought they would still be a top team. The Seattle Storm have been excellent as well and they have played really well under new coach Dan Hughes. Last but not least, is the Phoenix Mercury. Many had the Mercury making the playoffs and possibly a top 4 team, but no one expected this hot start from them. They have won eight straight games, they have the best road record and Diana Taurasi is playing excellent basketball along side Brittney Griner. Diana Taurasi may have a serious case for the WNBA MVP award if the Mercury keep this up.

Players that have stood out:

As mentioned above, Diana Taurasi has stood out early one quarter in the WNBA season, but Natasha Howard has been an excellent addition to the Seattle Storm. She has played well beside Breanna Stewart which has allowed her offensive game to flourish. She’s on track to being a WNBA All Star next month. Chiney Ogwumike has also stood out from the Sun simply because she was injured last season and has performed well so far. If not for her injuries, she would have already been in star form. She’s just that good. Elizabeth Cambage from Dallas also stands out because, despite not playing in the WNBA for many years, she’s become the second best player for the Wings and she’s performed really well for that team.

Team(s) that have not performed well so far

The two teams that have not played well so far are the defending WNBA champion the Minnesota Lynx and the New York Liberty. Prior to the season starting, many thought the Lynx would be the #1 team to beat but so far they have not been that team. As for the New York Liberty, they were thought of being a playoff contender but so far, they have struggled. Even with a healthy lineup, they have not been consistent so far and would miss the playoffs as they sit in ninth place overall.  Both the Liberty and the Lynx can be better than they are right now and they still have three quarters of the WNBA season to prove it.

The 2018 WNBA Rookie Class

ROOKIES!! These WNBA rookies came to play this season. Led by A’ja Wilson, the #1 overall WNBA draft pick, Kelsey Mitchell, Kia Nurse, Ariel Atkins, Victoria Vivians, Myisha Hines Allen, Azura Stevens, Diamond DeShields, Gabby Williams have ALL shown flashes or have had games in which they have stood out so far. These rookies are different from previous recent classes because they have played well or have contributed to their teams in some kind of capacity. The WNBA is in good hands with these rookies as some of them have shown superstar or WNBA All Star potential. Some have shown they can be future great defenders or great starters.

SCHEDULE

The WNBA schedule is a talking point because let’s face it, these condensed schedule is nuts. We are already in Week 5, some teams have been on crazy road trips out West, some teams have played 4 games in 7 days, etc. Also there have been some really bad back to back game schedules. Each team will experience it or already have experienced it. Teams are now starting to lose players due to it which does not help teams in terms of making the playoffs. Thanks a lot, FIBA. It’s all your fault. (On the other hand, it does increase the amount of WNBA games on the schedule, which is a bonus for us, personally speaking)

STAT LEADERS

Point guard / Shooting guard Skylar Diggins-Smith currently leads the WNBA in scoring with 21.9 points per game followed by Breanna Stewart and Tina Charles.

Center Sylvia Fowles leads the way in rebounding with 11.8 rebounds per game followed by Elizabeth Williams and Alyssa Thomas.

Point guard Sue Bird leads the way in assists with 5.9 assists per game followed by Chelsea Gray and Skylar Diggins- Smith

There’s many more categories, but I chose the main three statistics.


 

That wraps up the 2018 WNBA season at the quarter point. There’s still so much to be decided, and we will have much more to discuss when the WNBA reaches at it’s halfway point, so stay tuned for that blog post. (The halfway point — believe it or not, is in two weeks!)

WNBA Players Scoring/Rebounding/Assists Milestones for the 2018 season

A new WNBA season is upon us. There’s so much to look forward too, but for these following WNBA players, it will be even more special as they can cross certain milestones and move themselves up in the WNBA lists. As always, my inspiration for this comes from Kevin Brown’s WNBA site where you can find all of these information and much more. I also used Across the Timeline’s website in which they detailed all of the upcoming WNBA players milestones.  I only cover the three main categories and will update every single time via my Twitter when a player is near a certain milestone just like I have in previous years. *Note: I only put WNBA players who I think are capable of reaching the milestone THIS season ONLY.*

SCORING MILESTONES

8000 points

Diana Taurasi needs 133 points to reach 8000 points.  She will be the FIRST EVER WNBA player to reach that scoring milestone. (Phoenix Mercury)

7000 points

Cappie Pondexter needs 409 points to reach 7000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

6000 points

Sue Bird needs 160 points to reach 6000 points. (Seattle Storm)

Candice Dupree needs 398 points to reach 6000 points. (Indiana Fever)

Seimone Augustus needs 521 points to reach 6000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

5000 points

Angel McCoughtry needs 10 points to reach 5000 points. (Atlanta Dream)

Tina Charles needs 228 points to reach 5000 points. (New York Liberty)

Candace Parker needs 422 points to reach 5000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

Maya Moore needs 628 points to reach 5000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

Sylvia Fowles needs 681 points to reach 5000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

4000 points

Rebekkah Brunson needs 32 points to reach 4000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

DeWanna Bonner needs 353 points to reach 4000 points. (Phoenix Mercury)

3000 points

Renee Montgomery needs 141 points to reach 3000 points. (Atlanta Dream)

Epiphanny Prince needs 146 points to reach 3000 points. (New York Liberty)

Shavonte Zellous needs 322 points to reach 3000 points. (New York Liberty)

Elena Delle Donne needs 352 points to reach 3000 points. (Washington Mystics)

2000 points

Courtney Vandersloot needs 84 points to reach 2000 points. (Chicago Sky)

Karima Christmas-Kelly needs 162 points to reach 2000 points. (Dallas Wings)

Danielle Robinson needs 182 points to reach 2000 points. (Minnesota Lynx)

Kia Vaughn needs 214 points to reach 2000 points. (New York Liberty)

Alex Bentley needs 239 points to reach 2000 points. (Connecticut Sun)

Allie Quigley needs 243 points to reach 2000 points. (Chicago Sky)

Odyssey Sims needs 288 points to reach 2000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

Kayla McBride needs 433 points to reach 2000 points. (Las Vegas Aces)

Jewell Loyd needs 473 points to reach 2000 points. (Seattle Storm)

1000 points

Chelsea Gray needs 68 points to reach 1000 points. (Los Angeles Sparks)

Chiney Ogwumike needs 104 points to reach 1000 points. (Connecticut Sun)

Alex Montgomery needs 113 points to reach 1000 points. (Chicago Sky)

Bria Hartley needs 144 points to reach 1000 points. (New York Liberty)

Elizabeth Williams needs 170 points to reach 1000 points. (Atlanta Dream)

Erica Wheeler needs 225 points to reach 1000 points. (Indiana Fever)

Jonquel Jones needs 246 points to reach 1000 points. (Connecticut Sun)

Natasha Howard needs 262 points to reach 1000 points. (Seattle Storm)

Liz Cambage needs 294 points to reach 1000 points. (Dallas Wings)

Moriah Jefferson needs 337 points to reach 1000 points. (Las Vegas Aces)

3000 rebounds

Tina Charles needs 347 rebounds to reach 3000 rebounds. (New York Liberty)

Sylvia Fowles needs 374 rebounds to reach 3000 rebounds. (Minnesota Lynx)

1000 rebounds

Noelle Quinn needs 6 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Seattle Storm)

Marissa Coleman needs 45 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (New York Liberty)

Jessica Breland needs 86 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Atlanta Dream)

Karima Christmas-Kelly needs 136 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Dallas Wings)

Elena Delle Donne needs 143 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Washington Mystics)

Krystal Thomas needs 197 rebounds to reach 1000 rebounds. (Washington Mystics)

1000 assists

Renee Montgomery needs 75 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Atlanta Dream)

Kristi Toliver needs 79 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Washington Mystics)

Briann January needs 91 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Phoenix Mercury)

Danielle Robinson needs 121 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Minnesota Lynx)

Leilani Mitchell needs 197 assists to reach 1000 assists. (Phoenix Mercury)