Basketball

WNBA stars Nurse, Achonwa headline Canadian roster at women's world cup

WNBA stars Kia Nurse and Natalie Achonwa headline Canada's roster for the FIBA women's basketball World Cup.

Canada currently ranked program-high 5th in world

Forward Natalie Achonwa (11) headlines Canada's roster for the upcoming FIBA women's World Cup. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

WNBA stars Kia Nurse and Natalie Achonwa headline Canada's roster for the FIBA women's basketball World Cup.

Head coach Lisa Thomaidis named her 12-player roster Wednesday ahead of two exhibition games this weekend against Japan and the United States. The women's World Cup is Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.

"After a very competitive training camp, we have a roster that we're really excited about," Thomaidis said in a statement.

The 15 players in camp, which culminated Tuesday, had made for tough decisions, she'd said a day earlier.

"I think the longer we're together, the tougher it becomes," Thomaidis said on making cuts. "You think you're thinking one way and then you start thinking another way because you think about it too long. And people have performed well, they've done a great job in terms of making it tough on us. That's all you can ask for, we're seeing good performances by many of them."

The Canadian women are ranked a program-high fifth in the world, and qualified for their ninth World Cup appearance by winning the FIBA AmeriCup tournament last summer. Canada won bronze in 1979 and 1986, and was fifth in 2014.

The Canadians will face Greece on Sept. 22, South Korea on Sept. 23, and France on Sept. 25 in Group A action.

"Training camp was a great chance to see the athletes compete and observe the progress they have each made over the past year," said women's high performance director Denise Dignard. "Each one of them is an incredible ambassador of our Canadian team and committed to the goal of getting Canada to the podium."

Canada plays Japan on Friday and world No. 1-ranked United States on Saturday in an exhibition series in Bridgeport, Conn. Before travelling to Tenerife, the Canadians will face France, the U.S., and Senegal in a four-team tournament in France, Sept. 15-17.

Full roster

  • Natalie Achonwa, Guelph, Ont., Indiana Fever (WNBA)

  • Kayla Alexander, Milton, Ont., Indiana Fever (WNBA)

  • Miranda Ayim, London, Ont., Basket Landes (France)

  • Bridget Carleton, Chatham, Ont., Iowa State (NCAA)

  • Shay Colley, Brampton, Ont., Michigan State (NCAA)

  • Nirra Fields, Lachine, Que., Energa Torun (Poland)

  • Kim Gaucher, Mission, B.C., Mondeville (France)

  • Ruth Hamblin, Houston, B.C., Castor Braine (Belgium)

  • Miah-Marie Langlois, Windsor, Ont., Novosibirsk Dynamo (Russia)

  • Kia Nurse, Hamilton, Ont., New York Liberty (WNBA)

  • Michelle Plouffe, Edmonton, Lyon (France)

  • Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Toronto, Bourges (France)

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