FIBA Women’s World Cup Primer: Canada takes first step in pursuit of history

Victor Lapeña’s first test as the new head coach of Canada’s senior women’s basketball program comes onto the world stage, as Canada take part in the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament in Osaka , in Japan.

Lapeña will take Canada to face hosts Japan as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group C. Under normal circumstances, the top three from each group will solidify their place at the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 at Sidney.

However, Belarus opted out of the qualifying tournament, meaning Canada automatically qualified for a spot in Sydney in September.

With the team still heading to Osaka to compete and regroup ahead of the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022, Lapeña will be tasked with a new challenge he has yet to take on: being the head coach. of a women’s national team.

Previously, Lapeña served as an assistant coach for Spain’s senior women’s national team, leading them to an Olympic silver medal at Rio 2016 and a silver medal at the FIBA ​​Women’s World Championship 2014 during of his 14 years with the program.

For Lapeña, the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 gives her a chance to help Canada make history as they aim to make a 12th appearance at the event and seek their highest ranking all time.

The highest finish Canada has ever finished at a World Cup is third place, at the 1979 FIBA ​​Women’s World Championship in Korea and the 1986 FIBA ​​Women’s World Championship in Moscow.

Failing to qualify for the quarter-finals at the Tokyo Olympics, Canada went 1-2 in the group, losing in a tiebreaker between the other “lucky” teams. At each of the two previous Olympic Games in Rio and London, Canada’s National Women’s Team lost in the quarter-finals.

Here’s a look at what’s to come for Canada as they complete the first stage of the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022.

How to watch Team Canada play

Starting Thursday against Japan, Canada takes its first step towards the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022. Here’s how to watch.

Games

With a 2 p.m. time change, Canada opens its tournament against host Japan at 5 a.m. ET on Thursday, February 10, which is 7 p.m. local time.

Canada next takes on Bosnia and Herzegovina at 1 a.m. ET on Saturday, February 12, 3 p.m. ET, taking on 2021 WNBA Most Valuable Player Jonquel Jones in the game.

Since Belarus canceled its participation, Canada will only play two games in the tournament.

Broadcast

As Sportsnet is now the exclusive site for FIBA ​​events in Canada until the fall of 2025, both games will be available for viewing on Sportsnet 360.

Qualifying format

The FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifiers are very different from the men’s tournament as the men’s team qualify in their continental regions such as the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Instead, the women’s team holds qualifying tournaments much like the Olympics, which are held in Osaka, Japan, Washington, USA and Belgrade, Serbia, and matches will be played from February 10 to 13.

The Washington tournament will feature Belgium, Puerto Rico, Russia and home team USA, while the Belgrade tournament will see two different qualifying groups.

Belgrade will host Australia, Korea, Brazil and local team Serbia in Group A, with Group B consisting of Mali, China, France and Nigeria.

The FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 serves as a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Canada’s Bridget Carleton (6), left, circles South Korea’s Hyeyoon Bae. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)


Notes on the list

Although Canada has plenty of talent playing overseas as well as in the NCAA and WNBA, players from those leagues have generally not been made available for in-season qualifying windows, with players like Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton out of the 2021 FIBA ​​Women’s AmeriCup due to their WNBA commitments.

Although 19 players were named to the preliminary list for Canada’s training camp, only 12 made it to Osaka to compete.

Players named to the final list include veterans Achonwa, Carleton, Kayla Alexander and Nirra Fields, who represented Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, as well as Alexander and Fields who competed in the FIBA ​​Women’s AmeriCup in June.

Michelle Plouffe returns to the team after missing the competition in 2020 and 2021 due to FIBA ​​3×3 commitments for Team Canada.

Shay Colley, a key player for Canada in Tokyo, was also named to the initial roster along with Aislinn Konig and Jamie Scott, who were reserves for the Tokyo Games.

NCAA stars Laeticia Amihere and Merissah Russell are returning for Canada, while UConn star Aaliyah Edwards will not participate due to her NCAA commitments.

Cassandra Brown and Quinn Dornstauder complete the final members of the 12 women named to the final list.

Coaches

Lapeña signed to coach alongside newly hired assistant coach Noelle Quinn, the current Seattle Storm head coach, as well as fellow assistant coaches Steve Baur and Carly Clarke. The FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament will also be a glimpse into Lapeña’s coaching style, as he will lead many players from the current roster into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games where he hopes to make a statement as a coach. as head coach.

Former head coach Lisa Thomaidis and the program parted ways two days before her contract expired, ending a nine-year run with the team in which she compiled an 83-44 record and won gold at the 2015 FIBA ​​Americas Women’s Championship and 2017 FIBA ​​Women’s Championship. America’s Cup.

And after?

Since Belarus canceled their participation, Canada’s senior women will take part in the FIBA ​​Women’s World Cup 2022 by default, regardless of her performance in Osaka, but the senior men have not yet confirmed their place and will participate. qualifying from February 24 to 27. the window.

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