FIBAWWC 2018: Nigerian duo, Nurse to lead Canada to Tenerife

FIBAWWC 2018: Nigerian duo, Nurse to lead Canada to Tenerife

Canada women’s basketbal team are a dominant force to reckon with in Central America little wonder they are ranked 5th in the world. They will be making their 4th consecutive appearance and 11th in total at the FIBA Women’s World Cup.

Coach
Lisa Thomaidis a former assistant coach for Canada between 2002 and 2013, will take charge of the Canadian team to Tenerife. She took over in 2013 replacing Allison McNeill as head coach. Thomaidis didn’t take long to win her first title at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women. She followed it with two Gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games and the 2017 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup.

How they qualified
Canada qualified for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 with a 84-45 victory over Brazil in the semis of the 2017 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup. They also went ahead to win their second consecutive FIBA Women’s AmeriCup title beating Argentina 67-65 in the Final.

Following few retirements after Rio 2016, coach Thomaidis has given the nod to new faces who will make their senior debut at the World Cup. 35-year-old Shona Thorburn who represented Canada from 1998 to 2003 and also from 2011 to 2016, played 132 games in total with 107 games on the senior team. The duo of 34-year-old Lizanne Murphy and 32-year-old Tamara Tatham both joined the team in 2005. Murphy played 145 games while Tatham played 157 games.The trio helped Canada qualify for two straight Olympics in 2012 and 2016 and won gold medals at the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 FIBA Americas tournament.

Star players
Last week, Thomaidis announced her final roster to the World Cup: WNBA trio Kia Nurse, Kayla Alexander and Nigerian-born Natalie Achonwa are expected to make quality contributions to the team when action tips off in Spain.

Another Nigerian-born, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe making her debut at the World Cup, has been touted as the next big thing from Canada.
Veteran Kim Gaucher returns to squad after taking a time off to focus on her club career in France. Gaucher last played for the national team at the 2016 Rio Olympics following their quarter final loss to France.

Full roster: Kia Nurse, Kayla Alexander, Miranda Ayim, Bridget Carleton, Nirra Fields, Kim Gaucher,Ruth Hamblin, Michelle Plouffe, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe,Natalie Achonwa, Shay Colley, Miah-Marie Langlois.

Expectation
Canada have not won the World Cup in 10 appearances only managed third place finishes in Seoul, Korea (1979) and Moscow, Soviet Union (1986). They should go out of Group A behind France.

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