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.

Canadian Senior National Women’s Basketball Team preview of FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament in Edmonton

kia nurse

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team gets underway tonight in Edmonton as they host Cuba in the first of three games of the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments. This is the second tournament that Team Canada will participate in and there is a final Olympic qualifying tournament in February.

Team Canada has become more and more successful at FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments and in this particular tournament, they should have no problem winning the tournament. The opponents that they will face are Cuba which tips off  tonight, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. They should have no problem winning all three games. Team Canada has risen and become a much stronger team thanks in large part to their coaches as well as a strong group of players as well. This is a deep Canadian senior women’s national team and it should get even better as the year goes on when Team Canada will face stronger competition down the line. Also of note, certain long time players will get the media attention such as Natalie Achonwa, Kia Nurse, Kim Gaucher, Miranda Ayim, etc but don’t forget about the upcoming future stars such as Aliyah Edwards and Shaina Pellington. Those two have a bright future ahead of them.

As of now,  as mentioned above, they will face Cuba tonight at 7:30 pm local time, Puerto Rico on Saturday at 5:00 pm local time, and Dominican Republic at 4:00 pm local time.

For more details on the Canadian FIBA Qualifying Tournaments and who will play for the national team in this tournament, please read Canada Basketball’s press release.

It should be a fun tournament and I hope the people in Edmonton come out and support these women.

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.

2018 WNBA Mock Draft Version 3.0

Maria Vadeeva of Russia. Photo courtesy of FIBA Basketball

*I have updated my WNBA Mock Draft with Azura Stevens declaring early*

With the conclusion of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, we now turn our attention towards the WNBA season. The third version of my 2018 WNBA Mock Draft is below. I will have one more which will be the FINAL Mock Draft which will be released on Monday, April 9th. Look for that one as well as there could be early declarations OR pre – draft day trades that often shake up the order. If you want to view the earlier versions, here is the second version.  The first version is here.

FIRST ROUND

  1. A’ja Wilson (F) – Las Vegas Aces
  2. Azura Stevens (F) – Indiana Fever
  3. Kelsey Mitchell (G) – Chicago Sky
  4. Gabby Williams (F) – Chicago Sky
  5. Jordin Canada (G) – Seattle Storm
  6. Diamond DeShields (G/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. Mercedes Russell (F) – Minnesota Lynx
  6. Ariel Atkins (G) – Dallas Wings
  7. Shakayla Thomas (G) – Washington Mystics
  8. Katelynn Flaherty (G) – Phoenix Mercury
  9. Tyra Buss (G) – Phoenix Mercury
  10. Loryn Goodwin (G) – New York Liberty
  11. Tyler Scaife (G) – Los Angeles Sparks
  12. Roshunda Johnson (F) – 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. Lexie 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