April 12, 2006
TORONTO, Ont. - Canada's Senior Women's National Team named the 24 players who will be invited to attend the team's "tryout by invitation" July 10-12 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Among those 24 players is current Gonzaga signee Janelle Bekkering, a senior at WR Meyer High in Taber, Alberta. Bekkering singed a national letter of intent with the Bulldogs in November and will play for Gonzaga next season. She is the youngest of the 24 players invited to the tryout.
Of the 24 players, 14 were members of Canada's 2005 Senior Women's team which earned a berth in this year's FIBA World Championship, including WNBA All-Star Tammy Sutton-Brown of Ontario and 2006 firstround pick Kim Smith of B.C. Another WNBA player, Ontario's Stacey Dales, was also named after announcing the end of her retirement earlier this year. Sutton-Brown, Smith and Dales, will play for the Charlotte Sting, Sacramento Monarchs and Chicago Sky respectively.
Players on the list playing professionally overseas include Claudia Brassard (Townsville Fire, Australia), Sheila Townsend (Valosun, Czech Republic), Nikki Johnson (BG Dorsten, Germany) and Isabelle Grenier (SV Halle, Germany).
Two players named today also helped Canada's development team to a 4-3 record at the FISU (World University) games in Izmir, Turkey this past summer, including Canadian University Sport (CIS) player of the year Sarah Crooks.
In addition, five players made the jump from Canada's national junior team which finished ninth at last year's FIBA Women's Under 19 World Championship in Tunisia, while two players made the leap from the cadet national team.
"This is a very strong group of players from which we will select the teams for this year's competition schedule", said Senior Women's Team Head Coach Allison McNeill. "With the FIBA World Championship this year in September, there will be high demands on our players to perform and I am confident the athletes from this group can meet that challenge. I am also looking forward to seeing the progression of some of the younger athletes at the tryout."
The first competition of Canada's Senior Women's National Team will be an exhibition series in Southern Ontario versus Brazil July 17-22 followed by an exhibition tour in Europe. The season will culminate at the 2006 Women's World Championship, September 12-23 in Brazil. A complete national team competition schedule will be forthcoming.