Canadian women’s basketball team takes final shot at Olympics.
For more than half a decade they’ve been building for this summer, growing as women, as athletes, as teammates.
They know what’s at stake and are now more familiar with what it will take to reach their ultimate goal, to continue a growing process a long time in the making, to create something for the next generation to carry on.
The national women’s basketball team — with one shot left to qualify for the London Olympics — is embarking on the final stage of a program that’s been a long time coming.
“This group wants to leave more a legacy,” said head coach Allison McNeill. “We’ve got a core group here that’s been through these things.
“They know what’s at stake.”
The women are currently in the middle of a British Columbia training camp that represents the beginning of a speedy process to qualify for the Games for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
They have an ambitious schedule ahead of them that includes exhibition games in British Columbia, Seattle, Scotland and France before a 12-country final qualification event beginning in late June in Ankara, Turkey.
Canada, lumped into a first-round group with France and Mali, is after one of five available Olympic berths, an accomplishment that would be a perfect feather in the cap of a group of women who’ve been rising up the international ranks since about 2006.
They were in the 2006 and 2010 world championships — barely missing a spot in the 2008 Beijing Olympics — and McNeill says the familiarity built over those various significant global tournaments has them fully aware of what will be required this summer.
Still with some cuts to make to the final roster, there could be eight or nine players on the final team who were together at the 2010 worlds, allowing them to hit the ground running in their preparation.