Senior Women heading to Rio Next Summer

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(PHOTO: Canada Basketball)

(PHOTO: Canada Basketball)

If you didn’t already know, AND YOU SHOULD, the Senior Women’s National Team capped off a perfect summer by beating Cuba 82-66 to win the FIBA Americas Championship and qualifying for the Rio Olympics next summer.

After a perfect record at the Pan Am Games just a few weeks earlier to win the Gold, Canada was a favourite to repeat the trick in Edmonton also.  But after seeing how they performed at the Pan Am Games there was no way to predict how they would do in the FIBA Americas. Some teams gave Canada some tight games (like Cuba) so heading into the tournament no one would have predicted Canada to dominate like they did.

Canada vs Cuba

The key to the Senior Women’s dominant performance was their deep roster of talent that really made it next to impossible for any of the teams they faced to keep up.  With very little talent drop off whenever a new player would take the place of another teams just couldn’t keep up.  Any one of the players on the team could make a case for more minutes or touches but the team had one goal in mind all summer and they were able to accomplish that.

Having qualified for the Rio Olympics means an unprecedented amount of preparation time that the Program did not have in the past.  Usually having to play in a summer qualifying tournament to get into the major even that year this automatic bid means that there can a sense of relaxed prep ahead of the Games.  This is a welcome advantage for a team that may have a few vets that are on the mend from injury or at the last stage of their National Program careers.  This extra prep time may also allow for any new players to get more acclimatized to the team, if the case may be.

Next summer’s team will have the ability to really pick and choose how they prepare in terms of exhibition tournaments and games which is a luxury that they never really had in the past.  Playing games was necessary to prep for a coming qualifying event.  This will be an excellent advantage going into the Olympics allowing for proper physical and mental rest leading up to the grind of a FIBA-type event.  I’m sure that Coach Lisa Thomaidis and her staff will begin plotting the trajectory of the Program’s next season very shortly.

The next few weeks will likely be rest and recovery weeks for most players, except the ones that are returning to school in the US or the WNBA, and it’s all a much deserved break.  The Program had a clear goal in mind and were able to accomplish it with relative ease.  Every player sacrificed for the bigger goal and were able to be a part of something special. Now the focus will be on Rio.

 

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