TORONTO — Olympic veterans Natalie Achonwa, Laeticia Amihere and Bridget Carleton will lead Canada at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 Qualifying Tournament.
Canada opens Group C play Thursday against host Japan before facing Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday.
Eleventh-ranked Belarus dropped out last week, citing COVID-19. But the remaining games of the tournament will take place as scheduled.
The top three teams at the qualifier were to advance to the World Cup, starting Sept. 22. As a result of the Belarus withdrawal, Canada, Japan and Bosnia and Herzegovina have already qualified for the World Cup which runs Sept. 22 to Oct. 1 in Sydney.
It marks Canada’s 12th appearance at the World Cup. The Canadian women's best finish was third in both 1979 and 1986.
Belgrade will host two qualifying tournaments, with Washington, D.C. staging the other qualifier.
Host Australia and the Olympic champion U.S. have already qualified.
The Canadian are ranked fourth in the world, a career high. Japan is ranked eighth and Bosnia and Herzegovina 27th.
The Canadian team is missing Kia Nurse and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, along with college standout Shaina Pellington, who are all injured. University of Connecticut star Aaliyah Edwards is unavailable due to NCAA commitments.
Canada had previously named a 19-woman preliminary roster that also included Delaney Gibb, Ruth Hamblin, Alex Kiss-Rusk, Ceejay Nofuente, Katherine Plouffe, Emily Potter and Cassandre Prosper.
The World Cup winner of the earn a berth in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Natalie Achonwa, Guelph, Ont.; Kayla Alexander, Milton, Ont.; Laeticia Amihere, Mississauga, Ont.; Cassandra Brown, Vernon, B.C.; Bridget Carleton, Chatham, Ont.; Shay Colley, Brampton, Ont.; Quinn Dornstauder, Regina; Nirra Fields, Montreal;. Aislinn Konig, Langley, B.C.; Michelle Plouffe, Edmonton; Merissah Russell, Ottawa; Jamie Scott, Pasco, Wash.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2022
The Canadian Press