It’s time for another round of FIBA World Cup Qualifiers — this time for the Canadian National Women’s Team! Canada Basketball released a preliminary roster on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the team’s trip to Osaka, Japan next week to compete for a spot in the 2022 FIBA World Cup.
According to Canada Basketball, the official 12 player roster will be released next week after a technical meeting.
The qualifying tournament in Japan will be the first appearance for new head coach Victor LaPena, and new head assistant coach Noelle Quinn after they were hired last month.
The team is currently ranked #4 in the world by FIBA and hope to do well at the World Cup this year after a disappointing performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
At the last FIBA World Cup in 2018 the team placed 7th — after winning gold at the 2015 Pan American Games on home soil. Team Canada has placed in the top 10 at every event they have played in since 2010.
To long-time fans of the Canadian Women’s Senior basketball team, this roster may look a little different. Due to injury, COVID-19 protocol, NCAA commitment, and players who have retired, the roster looks a lot different than it did even in Tokyo last summer.
Some prominent names missing include Kia Nurse, who is currently recovering from an ACL tear she suffered in the WNBA semi-finals in September, and young star Aaliyah Edwards, who made her Olympic debut last summer and currently plays for the UConn Huskies in the NCAA. Miranda Ayim, long time veteran of the program, announced her retirement from competitive basketball after the Tokyo games last summer.
There are still a lot of familiar faces on the roster who will likely make the cut and head to Osaka next week. Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton, who both play for the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA, have been with the team for many years and join Kia Nurse as the only Canadian players currently in the WNBA.
Kayla Alexander, who also has WNBA experience, and Shay Colley are two players who have made an impact on the national team in recent showings. Laeticia Amihere is another young player currently playing for the University of South Carolina under Dawn Staley, who has a promising future ahead of her in pro basketball.
To qualify for the FIBA World Cup later this year, the team has to place in the top three in their group in Osaka. They will play each of Japan, Belarus, and Bosnia one time in hopes of qualifying.
This team is continuously on the rise as basketball in Canada continues to grow. With more young players getting scouted by NCAA colleges, playing overseas, and drafted into the WNBA/NBA, the team is expected to perform well in future appearances.
An experienced new coaching staff also hopes to bring Canada success. Victor LaPena has overseas and Olympic experience, and Noelle Quinn was hired as the Head Coach of the Seattle Storm in the WNBA last season.
The qualifying tournament will be held in Osaka on February 10th-13th, and you can catch all of the action on Sportsnet!