MISSISSAUGA,ON–For the next week, the Canadian Women’s Senior team will continue preperation on home soil, prior to the FIBA America Championship tipping off in Columbia on September 24.
The champion in Columbia will automatically qualify for the 2012 olympics; while countries placing 2-4 will enter the olympic qualifying tournament next June.
Last year, Canada suited up a young team at the world championships which Head coach, Allison McNeill felt was great preparation for the road ahead.
The team ended up 1-7, however had three losses within six points or less.
“I think we’re ready to break out,” said Allison.
Canada will be bringing back nine players from last year’s world championships, and add three fresh new faces.
The team will look for scoring production from veterans Kim Smith (Mission, BC) and Tamara Tatham.
Smith averaged a team-high 13.1 PPG at the world championships, while Tatham will be a matchup problem for defenders due to her combination of speed, strength and athleticism.
Other notables include Miranda Ayim of the WNBA (Tulsa Shock) and recent Michigan state graduate, Kalisha Keane.
Defensively, it will be a total team effort, which was evident in yesterday’s practice as the ladies did a great job shifting and communicating effectively.
“We have unbelievable chemistry and great leadership from our older players,” said McNeill. “I think we’re one of the top teams in the world defensively.”
If this holds true, Canadian basketball fans could have something to cheer about in the 2012 olympics!
Good luck ladies!
-The coaching staff still have one more cut to make before they leave Canada.
-Kalisha Keane has secured a professional contract with Gospic in Croatia.