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)

 

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

Canadian Senior National Team

*Note: The Canadian Senior Women National Team is in action at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup taking place from September 22nd to September 30th. This is just part 1 of the previews of the team and a new preview will be posted monthly.

 

Toronto – The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team has a higher set of expectations coming into competition. They will be expected to fight for a medal and show the other countries that they are becoming one of the basketball powerhouses. The women’s team over the years have had great finishes and close games, but other than that, have not finished higher than third over 32 years ago in major international competitions such as the World Championships and the Summer Olympics.

The talent level has risen over the years and this current team is ranked 6th in the world by FIBA. This shows that the Canadian team is starting to make noise but in order to truly arrive, Canada needs to show it can be a medal threat along with the top countries that are participating.

Team Canada’s roster will be a mix of young players and veterans who must be ready to play against some of the top players in the world. It is not an easy task to put a team together and have a high set of expectations but this team needs to prove itself. Their recent history in other competitions shows that they can indeed be a medal threat, but on the world stage and more eyes watching, they will need to impress.

Team Canada’s competition will be tough but with the right mix of skill, defense, team play and chemistry they can be a force to be reckoned with come September.

 

 

My WNBA coverage and what to expect this season

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since my last blog post so I thought I would just quickly update all of my readers and subscribers (thank you!!) on what they can expect from me this WNBA season. I am going to be writing articles with a major focus on the Dallas Wings and the Atlanta Dream at http://www.hashtagbasketball.com/wnba. I will still watch the WNBA and other teams but if you follow those two teams closely, I will be too.

As for the blog, I will still post every two weeks to keep up with the latest WNBA information and or other interesting tidbits. I have a very busy summer ahead of me, but that does not mean the WNBA season stops. I may be absent here or there throughout the summer due to some personal family commitments so apologies if I miss certain days or if I don’t post articles, etc.

Thank you everyone for always reading this blog. I appreciate your support and I hope you continue to support during the WNBA season!

– Aneela

2018 EuroLeague Women Final Four Semi finals Recap

Hello everyone,

I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a while since I last posted a blog post and I thought I would recap both the EuroLeague Women Final Four semi finals games.


Semi Final Game #1 : UMMC vs Dynamo Kursk

There will be a new champion in EuroLeague Women as Russian powerhouse UMMC defeated the reigning champion Dynamo Kursk by a final score of 84 to 77.

Led by Maya Moore’s 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, UMMC was efficient both on the perimeter and in the paint. After UMMC Ekatrinburg took a two point lead after the first quarter, Dynamo Kursk stormed back and took a nine point lead thanks to the play of Angel McCoughtry who came off the bench. However, the lead was short lived as UMMC came storming back and was only down by one at the half. In the third quarter, UMMC was red hot and Dynamo Kursk just didn’t have enough scoring power other than Angel McCoughtry to keep up. UMMC was then able to control the game from that excellent third quarter and maintained the lead to grab a win. Now, UMMC will have a chance to become Euroleague champions when they face off in the final versus either Sopron or YDU this Sunday, April 22nd.  Not only was Maya Moore excellent but Brittney Griner, Emma Messeman and Kristi Toliver helped in delivering a great win for UMMC Ekatrinburg.

Semi Final Game #2: Yakin Dogu vs Sopron Basket

The fairytale season continues on for Sopron Basket. They are heading to the Euroleague Women final versus UMMC. Sopron Basket took full advantage of the Euroleague Women Final Four being held in Sopron. From the start of the game, they took control of the game and played stellar defense versus the Euroleague’s scoring leader Kayla McBride and caused several turnovers that led to easy baskets for Sopron. They never allowed Yakin Dogu to get comfortable. They went into halftime with a 10 point lead.

After halftime, it was a different story. Despite maintaining the lead, Yakin Dogu was able to get easier baskets both on the perimeter and in the paint. Yakin Dogu’s defence was much better in the second half which caused problems for Sopron. They had trouble scoring and Yakin Dogu came back. With roughly 3 minutes left, Yakin Dogu and Sopron Basket held brief leads over another until the score was tied at 65 a piece. Jelena Milavonic then hit a huge three pointer with about two seconds remaining. Yakin Dogu then recieved a 5 second violation on the other end which sealed the deal for Sopron. This is a historic win for Sopron as they head off to the title game taking place on Sunday April 22nd.

FINAL 2018 WNBA Mock Draft

Diamond DeShields. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Well, this is it. We have reached the final week. The WNBA Draft tips off THIS Thursday at 7 pm on ESPN2. Make sure you tune in and watch. As for me, this is the final 2018 WNBA Mock Draft you will get from this blog. Thank you everyone for your constant support through out all of these WNBA mock drafts. I have received over 2,500+ views on all three previous versions which is mind blowing. So again, THANK YOU! And I am wishing all those draftees good luck as well as to the draft invitees and may your future be forever changed.

FIRST ROUND

  1. A’ja Wilson (F) – Las Vegas Aces
  2. Kelsey Mitchell (G) – Indiana Fever
  3. Diamond DeShields (G/F) – Chicago Sky
  4. Azura Stevens (F) – Chicago Sky
  5. Jordin Canada (G) – Seattle Storm
  6. Gabby Williams (F) – Dallas Wings
  7. Victoria Vivians (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Lexie Brown (G) – Indiana Fever
  9. Kia Nurse (G) – Connecticut Sun
  10. Maria Vadeeva (C) – New York Liberty
  11. Monique Billings (F) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Marie Gulich (C) – Phoenix Mercury

SECOND ROUND

  1. Stephanie Mavunga (C) – Las Vegas Aces
  2. Jaime Nared (F) – Indiana Fever
  3. Myisha Hines-Allen (F) – Connecticut Sun
  4. Jill Barta (F) – Atlanta Dream
  5. Ariel Atkins (G) – Minnesota Lynx
  6. Mercedes Russell (C) – Dallas Wings
  7. Tyler Scaife (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Loryn Goodwin (G) – Phoenix Mercury
  9. Roshunda Johnson (F) – Phoenix Mercury
  10. Shakayla Thomas (G) – New York Liberty
  11. Tyra Buss (G) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Katelynn Flaherty (G) – Minnesota Lynx

THIRD ROUND

  1. Brooke McCarty (G) – Phoenix Mercury
  2. Natalie Butler (C) – Indiana Fever
  3. Vionise Pierre – Louis (C) – Atlanta Dream
  4. Morgan William (G) – Chicago Sky
  5. Rebecca Greenwell (G) – Seattle Storm
  6. Lexi Bando (G) – Dallas Wings
  7. Carlie Wagner (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Gabbi Ortiz (G) – Las Vegas Aces
  9. Linnae Harper (G) – Connecticut Sun
  10. Maria Jespersen (F) – New York Liberty
  11. Kaylee Jensen (C) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Raisa Musina (C) – Minnesota Lynx