Senior women's team off in search of worlds berth
So the question is put directly to Lisa Thomaidis near the end of an evening conversation about the Canadian women’s basketball team that will try to qualify for next year’s world championships at the FIBA Americas tournament that starts on the weekend in Mexico:
“Feel any pressure?”
And she is forthright and decisive:
“Oh yeah. We’ve got to get this done.”
And off they go -- an experience group of women, well accomplished in the international game, highly successful over the last decade -- off seeking one of three berths in next year’s worlds at a 10-team tournament somewhere called Xalapa, Mexico.
The women arrived in Toronto for a quick overnight stop last night before leaving on a long and arduous trip today. They play their first game on Sunday in their five-team pool that includes Jamaica, Chile, Venezuela and Cuba.
The key, of course, is winning the pool to get a supposedly easier semifinal against the second place team from the other side that includes Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
So, how good are they?
This is, on paper, a very good team with a load of experience that we all know comes in handy at international events.
There are eight holdovers from the team that finished in the top eight at the 2012 London Olympics as they program moves on from its high water mark of that last 20 years.
There a couple of dynamic – if young and inexperienced – guards in Kia Nurse and Justine Colley, veteran wings in Kim Guacher and Shona Thorburn and excellent size in Natalie Achonwa and Miranda Ayim.
Unlike the men – and we will not make this about one or the other too much – as the women go into their qualification tournament, I think there’s a huge level of confidence that they’ll come out with a worlds berth and I think they could very well play for the championship for the first time in a long time.
Brazil’s the other good, experienced team; the one that’s the wild card – always – is Cuba because no one sees them before the tournament begins. But after that, Canada is clearly with the cream of the crop (where’d that cliché come from?) and should get to its third straight worlds.
As Lisa was saying, the program has made such strides in the last decade – 10th at the 2006 worlds, 12th in 2010 and Olympic quarter-finals in 2012 at the Olympics – that it’s crucial they keep moving forward.
And with the combination of experience and youth and talent and coaching, there’s really no reason they shouldn’t.
Start paying attention, okay?
Yeah, I heard yesterday about the AGO exhibit of David Bowie stuff so …
Mail. Go any? Could use some at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
What have you got close to the downtown Marriott with comfortable stools, a choice of taps and perchance a TV or two?
And a Saturday lunch spot would help, as well
The Argo Boy Tour is quickly wrapping up.
Oh yeah, back to the women for a minute.
They are getting the short end of the stick from Sportsnet and, frankly, it sucks.
Yes, all of their games will be live on NBA TV Canada for those who pay the premium price to get that station and then will be shown sometime later that night on tape delay on one of the seemingly dozens of Sportsnet stations, likely the one that used to be The Score.
But that sucks.
They should be afforded the same respect that the men were. If Sportsnet – which actually inherited a previous Score agreement when it bought the station if memory serves – found a way to do those games live, it should find a way to do these one live. One can only hope that when the semifinals come around and a berth in a third straight world championship is on the line, they’ll find a way to do it live.
And, yes, I’ll try to be free to do the commentary; for a solid compensation, of course.
Everyone gets all excited and impressed that NBA teams tend to get together for “informal” workouts and fun runs this time of year but there is a downside.
Word came out this week that Brooklyn’s Deron Williams tweaked an ankle and is in a walking boot for a little bit; Washington lost Chris Singleton to a broken foot suffered in a workout at the team’s facility and we all remember Ed Davis missing a huge chunk of his rookie season when he hurt a knee goofing around in some gym.
Now, I know injuries can happen at any time to anyone and guys are going to play in the summer and the early fall because that’s what they do.
But I wonder if teams might start taking a closer look at the practice, they might want to take extra precautions and only work when it’s time to work.
That won’t eliminate the problem but it will lessen the risks and that’s not a bad thing, is it?
I’d say a France-Spain semifinal at Eurobasket is a pretty darn good game to look forward to tomorrow, wish we could see it up here. Saw a note somewhere that NBA TV had the quarter-finals on yesterday morning so I figured NBA TV Canada would do the right thing and pick up the feed.
Not so much.
But I guess a replay of some Raptor game from last season probably attracted all kinds of viewers, right?
Too bad; those are wrong decisions if they want to increase viewership and do right be fans.
Like today’s Lithuania-Italy quarter-final? It’d draw some eyes up here, wouldn’t it?