Canada ends their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with win over Japan

miah-marie langlois

The Canadian Senior Women’s Team ended their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 3-0 as they narrowly defeated a fierce opponent in Japan. Japan, who has already qualified for the Olympics due to being the host nation did not make this game easy for the Canadians.

They tested the Canadians and the two sides continued to battle back and forth all game. Team Canada was led in scoring by Kia Nurse who had 19 points and Natalie Achonwa had another strong game in scoring with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Achonwa was named to the All Star 5 after the game. Belgian star and Washington Mystics player Emma Meeseman was named the tournament MVP.

It was a hard fought victory for Team Canada and in previous years, that would have been a loss. Yet, Canada’s resolve to finish undefeated stayed strong and they were able to weather the storm when Japan had a chance to win the game on a three pointer (although it would not count if it did go in). Canada had to earn this victory and they should feel good about themselves because even with nothing on the line, they still managed to win the game.

Japan, should also be credited as they are getting ready to host the Olympic Games. That is a tough squad and with more practice, they should be a dark horse favourite for a possible Olympic medal. The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team will now disperse and go back to their respective overseas teams/colleges/back to Canada.

Canadians should get behind this team as this is possibly the best team Canada has ever assembled with a mix of youth, veterans and defense. They should watch the games and cheer them on when the Tokyo 2020 Olympics begin.

Canada punches ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games with win over Sweden.

team canada

The Canadian Senior Women’s Basketball Team have punched their ticket to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. This is the third straight Olympic Games that the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team has qualified for. This is the first Olympic Games that the Canadian team can seriously be in medal contention. This is also why CBC Sports decided to air the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament because they knew this Canada team was good. Very good.

As for the game itself, Canada had a sluggish start. They had 11 turnovers. It was ugly. Canada led by six at half. Then in the third quarter, Canada’s offence got going as a team and Natalie Achonwa led in scoring with 16 points. Canada cruised after that because Sweden has a tight rotation and could not keep up with the Canadians. They were faster, defended better and were able to score at ease. It is fitting that Natalie Achonwa led the way in scoring, because she has been a mainstay for the Canadians since she was a teenager. She was apart of the new wave that has led to the team we see today that has veteran experience and youth.

 

Canada survives Belgium in opening game of FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

kia nurse, team canada

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team opened Olympic qualifying in Ostend, Belgium with a win over the host Belgium. It was not easy as Belgium was powered by the crowd as well as WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meeseman and her team mates. Canada was led by Kia Nurse who had 19 points.

Canada battled Belgium but was able to maintain a lead throughout the game and were able to hold on when Belgium started making a late push towards the end of the third quarter. Canada’s defense helped key the victory and Kia Nurse’s play making ability helped separate the Canadians and eventually Canada held on to win. It was not pretty however. Belgium made it it a two point game with about 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter and had multiple opportunities to tie the game but Canada was able to hold them off and Kayla Alexander made two free throws with about 10 seconds left in the game that ultimately sealed the deal.

Canada was tested in their first game and they were able to escape with a key victory as they only need one more win to qualify for the 2020 Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. They now face Sweden on Saturday, February 8th at 2:30 pm EST and that game will be live streaming on cbc.ca as the game will be on tape delay on CBC which will air that game around 1:30 am EST. For Americans, the game will be available on ESPN+ and for international viewers, livebasketball.tv is offering the games.

Canada blows out Cuba in the first game of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Edmonton

bridget carleton

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team got off to a solid start on Thursday evening when they took care of business and were able to get an easy blowout victory and won by a final score of 110-53. They are now 1-0.

Coming into this tournament, Canada was going to have a bit of extra motivation to play well because this particular tournament was going to be held in Edmonton so the Canadians knew they would have to play well in front of the home crowd. Not only that, but Kia Nurse would have extra motivation to play well as a large majority of her extended family is in Edmonton for the weekend to watch both Kia and her brother Darnell (who plays for the Edmonton Oilers) in their respective games.

Kia Nurse did not disappoint. After Canada got off to a sluggish start in the first quarter, Kia came in the ball game and was aggressive in getting to the rim and getting steals. She shot the ball well and was the best player on the floor tonight. She finished with a game high 28 points. Cuba just did not have the players to deal with Team Canada and they were not able to get Canada into foul trouble where Canada doubled up at the FT line. They also did not shoot the ball well either and shot 30% from the floor. Canada just had too much size and too much depth which overwhelmed the Cubans.

Like I mentioned in my preview, Canada should sweep the tournament and they started it off with a bang. After getting the day off tomorrow, they are back in action against Puerto Rico on Saturday at 5:00 pm local time, 7:00 pm EST and 4 pm PST.

Canada finishes with a silver medal at the FIBA AmeriCup Tournament

Canada finishes in second place at FIBA Americas. Photo courtesy of FIBA

*I know this blog post is one week late, and the medals already have been awarded and the results sorted but I got extremely busy last weekend and then got really lazy, so now I finally have written this blog post. Apologies to my blog readers who keep an eye on the Team Canada women’s basketball team*

Puerto Rico – The United States is golden once again, this time in the FIBA AmeriCup Tournament. Canada fought as it could, but the US proved too much for Team Canada to handle and they won the gold medal back from Canada. Canada was the two time defending champion in this tournament.

Both the US and Canada were playing in their fifth game in six days and exhaustion showed in the game. Canada was also down two key starters, centre Kayla Alexander and point guard Miah Marie Langlois. Kayla Alexander was brilliant for Team Canada in the first couple of games before going down with a leg injury in the semi final. Canada missed her production against the United States forwards. Kayla Alexander was also named one of the FIBA All Star Five for her performance at the tournament.

Nonetheless, Canada still fought as much as they could but the depth of the United States wore them off. Canada finished with a silver medal and qualified for the next round of FIBA Olympic qualifying which will take place in Edmonton, Alberta from Nov. 16th to Nov. 19th.  Canada needs to finish in the top six in that tournament to qualify for the last Olympic qualifier which will take place before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

Canada proved their worth as a rising basketball nation as they have had worthy prospects playing both in the WNBA and NBA in the past few years and it speaks to Canada’s talent level that the US took part in this tournament since they rarely participate in them. Canada now has to put it’s roster together for November and it may include Kia Nurse and Natalie Achonwa, who did not participate in this FIBA Americas Tournament. Both of them are Team Canada standouts and if they are not on the roster in November, they definitely will be on the Olympic roster.

Canadian Senior Women’s National Team preview for FIBA AmeriCup Tournament

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team’s quest to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympics starts tomorrow at the FIBA AmeriCup Tournament which is being held in Puerto Rico. This tournament is one of two qualifying tournaments that take place to qualify countries for the Olympics.

This tournament lasts for one week and a top 8 finish qualifies Canada for the next Olympic qualifying tournament which will take place in November. Canada is the defending champion in this tournament and will look to defend their title against fellow powerhouse United States. The US rarely plays in these qualifying tournaments but they are sending a team to compete. This tournament focuses on countries located in the Americas.

Canada is sending 12 players who have a variety of international experience, WNBA experience and several new players who are playing for Canada for the first time. They will need to integrate quickly in order for Canada to succeed. Canada’s first game is tomorrow against Mexico at 12:30 pm EST/9:30 pm PST. They then play Cuba on Monday, Puerto Rico on Tuesday and the Dominican Republic on Thursday. The semi finals and final take place on Sept 28th and Sept 29th.

Alot of the players that are currently playing in this tournament for Team Canada will have an opportunity to prove themselves and to make an impression so that they can be in consideration for other international tournaments as well as the FIBA World Cup/Olympics.

Canada is currently ranked 5th in the world and should do well in this tournament. Winning the title will be more difficult this time around but they should still finish among the top. The games will be available to watch on DAZN in Canada and ESPN+ in the US.

 

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.