Canadian women’s basketball team keeping close eye on men ahead of Rio

Posted September 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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In between their two daily practices, Canada’s women’s basketball team has been keeping a close eye on the men.

The Canada’s women’s squad clinched its spot in the Rio Olympics way back in August, while the men are two wins away from earning their first berth in 16 years.

“I was up at 4:30 in the morning the last couple of days, watching them,” said women’s head coach Lisa Thomaidis.

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    The Canadian women host China in three exhibition games Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Saville Centre in Edmonton, as their final preparation for Rio kicks into high gear.

    The men, meanwhile, are playing at a last-chance qualifying tournament in Manila, where they need a victory over New Zealand in Saturday’s semifinals, and then a win in Sunday’s final to clinch their first Olympic berth since 2000.

    READ MORE: Montcalm earns Olympic spot at track & field trials in Edmonton

    Four years ago, the women were in the exact same spot, securing the last spot for the London Olympics just one month out from the Games.

    “It’s too early to get up (to watch the men) when we have two practices a day, but I think I’m going to wake up on the weekend to see their games,” Lizanne Murphy said. “I really hope they qualify, that would be so great for our country.

    “I think we’re going to do great regardless, but I just think it would mean so much more, and it would get the guys committed to playing for Canada. Because I think they just need to play on the big stage and they would show how much you can love playing for your country.”

    The women’s team, No. 9 on the most recent FIBA rankings, looks forward to a tough test from No. 8 China, the team the Canadians face in their first game in Rio on Aug. 6.

    “These are going to be great games, China is good, they’re playing very well,” Thomaidis said. “So it will be a great chance for us to test ourselves against someone different. We can only do so much against ourselves and against those boys.”

    (The women regularly scrimmage against a group of male high school and university players.)

    READ MORE: Road to Rio: Olympic swimmer and Victoria native Ryan Cochrane

    The exhibition series will give Canada a chance to experiment a little.

    “I think we’ll get a lot out of it,” said veteran forward Tamara Tatham. “We’re putting in a few new things and to be able to get out there and try different things, it’ll be cool to see different lineups and see what China throws at us and what we can expect at the Olympics.”

    The Canadian women made the quarter-finals four years ago in London, and aren’t shy about saying their goal in Rio is a medal.

    They have some recent solid results. The women went 5-0 en route to winning their first-ever Pan Am Games gold last summer, then won the FIBA Americas qualifying tournament.

    They went 4-1 on a European exhibition tour last month, losing their opener to No. 3 Spain, before reeling off victories over Cuba (No. 13), France (No. 4), Australia (No. 2), and China (No. 8).

    “But we know these (exhibition) games mean absolutely nothing right now and a lot of things change and we have to get a lot better, and I think we’ve done that this camp,” said veteran Kim Gaucher. “We’ve really grown.”

    The final Olympic roster will be announced during the final phase of training camp, which tips-off July 22 in Toronto.

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