Olympics in sight for Canadian Woman's Basketball team
'It's cool to see the support that the team is getting,' says Edmonton player Katherine Plouffe
The Team Canada Women's basketball team came out strong Monday in their final game at home before heading to the Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
The team played three games against China on Saturday, Sunday and Monday as part of the Edmonton Grads International Classic.
They swept the tournament in front of a packed hometown crowd at the Saville Community Sports Centre, winning the final game 71-59.
The team trains out of Edmonton, and stamped a ticket to Rio at home last year by winning the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship for Women.
In that tournament Team Canada went undefeated, and in the final beat previous champ Cuba by the score of 82-66 to win gold medals.
Playing for Team Canada in front of friends and family has been especially meaningful for Edmonton twin sisters Michelle and Katherine Plouffe.
"It's cool to see the support that the team is getting," said Katherine Plouffe. "And to see the community welcome our team as Edmonton's team."
Canada's men's basketball team failed to qualify for the Olympics, but the women of Team Canada are ready to represent their country on the court in Rio.
Watching the team succeed has stirred excitement among younger players as well.
Jef Bailey with Basketball Alberta has seen a spike in the number of girls looking to get out on the hardwood.
"We saw numbers increase across the province," said Bailey. "Particularly in young girls coming out to play basketball. We saw a double-digit increase percentage wise. And so having the women here, and having that direct influence, it has been a great thing to see."
Team Canada has once last tournament before they head to the games.
They face three of their major competitors, the United States, Australia and France in the U.S. at the end of July.
The Plouffe sisters say they're excited to see where the team stands going into Rio in August.