Though basketball is a summer Olympic sport and not a winter one, the Canadian Senior Women’s Basketball Team will still be in action THIS WEEK at their FIBA World Cup Qualifier games in Osaka, Japan.
Canada has already secured their spot at the World Cup in Sydney, Australia this September, due to the decision of Belarus not to participate in the qualifier. This weekend’s games will still be important though, as it will give new coaching staff — led by Victor LaPena and Noelle Quinn — a chance to see their team play before heading down under this fall.
Familiar faces to return to the team include Natalie Achonwa, three-time Olympian with Canada who currently plays with the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA, and her Lynx teammate Bridget Carleton. Kayla Alexander and Shay Colley also return to the squad after being key pieces to the team in Tokyo. Check out the rest of the roster here.
Though there may be a few changes to the roster come September — heavily depending on how healthy Kia Nurse is — it seems like this team may look quite similar to the team that will go to Sydney.
Canada is currently ranked #4 in the world by FIBA and hope to go far at the World Cup this year. With the professional and international experience of both the players and now the coaching staff of Canada, it seems like the team is ready to take on the competition.
Playing Japan and Bosnia will be a great indication of how to prepare for the World Cup. The 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones will be suiting up for Bosnia, giving Canada the unique challenge of containing her. They qualify regardless, but building team chemistry under a new coaching staff while facing tough opponents will be key this weekend.
The FIBA World Cup also serves as a qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, so while it seems like the Tokyo Olympics just happened (because they literally did just happen), Canada is already looking ahead to Paris. LaPena hopes to impress during his first round of competition as a National Team Head Coach.
There are two other Women’s World Cup Qualifier tournaments happening this weekend — the USA is hosting in Washington DC, while another tournament goes down in Serbia.
Serbia will host Group A (Serbia, Australia, Korea and Brazil) as well as Group B (France, China, Mali and Nigeria). The USA will host Group C (USA, Russia, Belgium and Puerto Rico), and Japan hosts Group D (Japan, Canada, Bosnia). Belarus, as previously mentioned, opted out of competing.
So, by the time the weekend is over, we will know every team that will be headed to the FIBA Women’s World Cup in September.
You can catch both games this weekend on Sportsnet, as Canada takes on hosts Japan at 5AM EST on Thursday February 10 and Bosnia at 1AM ET on Saturday February 12.