July 2, 2024 

Canada announces 2024 Olympic roster, four current WNBA players named

Sami Hill: 'To hear it official, it still gives me chills'

Canada has named 12 athletes to its 5-on-5 women’s basketball roster for the 2024 Paris Games, including four current WNBA players. This will be Team Canada’s eighth appearance in the Olympic women’s basketball tournament.

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Four current WNBA players — Laeticia Amihere of the Atlanta Dream, Bridget Carleton of the Minnesota Lynx, Aaliyah Edwards of the Washington Mystics and Kia Nurse of the Los Angeles Sparks — were named to the roster.

Amihere, Carleton and Edwards will all be representing Canada on the Olympic stage for a second time, while Nurse is making her third Olympic appearance as she represented Canada in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

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The Canadian women successfully qualified for their fourth consecutive Olympic Games by finishing third in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Sopron, Hungary this past February, qualifying through the backdoor after Spain defeated Hungary in a 73-72 dramatic comeback win.

Natalie Achonwa, who has played nine seasons in the WNBA with the Indiana Fever and most recently the Lynx, is set to become Canada’s first four-time Olympian in women’s basketball, 

Co-captain Kayla Alexander also brings WNBA experience to Canada’s roster, as she was selected eighth overall by the San Antonio Stars in the 2013 WNBA Draft and played nine seasons in the league with the Stars, Fever, Chicago Sky and Lynx.

Alexander has been one of Canada’s leaders, first making an appearance for the senior national team in 2018, and since has helped Canada take the podium at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup. Alexander says she looks to do the same in Paris.

“Same level of excitement, for sure, feels different because the last one was COVID so, didn’t have the full experience, I’m looking forward to having that this time around,” Alexander told reporters.

“The joy and excitement and just the privilege of being able to represent your country, that never changes. That’s still something that I’m just overflowing with right now.”

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Yvonne Ejim, Sami Hill, Cassandre Prosper and Syla Swords will all make their Olympic debuts with Canada in Paris. Ejim currently plays at Gonzaga, Hill plays for Kutxabank Araski in Spain, Prosper plays for Notre Dame and Swords, a five-star recruit and one of the top players in the 2024 class, is currently committed to Michigan.

Hill was named an alternate for Canada in 2021, and ultimately did not play in Tokyo. This time, she isn’t taking the opportunity of being named to the roster for granted.

“A very long road grateful to be here, it’s extremely special. I mean, this has been my lifelong goal, my lifelong athletic goal,” said Hill. “To hear it official, it still gives me chills, getting the jacket, being up here, I’m extremely excited and ready to get going.”

Nirra Fields and Shay Colley complete Canada’s roster, having both represented Canada in multiple international women’s basketball events including the 2020 Tokyo Games, as well as being part of the Olympic qualifying squad.

“We know we were honestly like two seconds away [from] not making the Olympics,” said Fields, who will be appearing in her third Olympic Games. “Going in with that mindset, knowing that we are grateful to be here and we almost didn’t make it, to have that chip on our shoulders going in, I think that’s going to be the mindset and to really take advantage of this moment.”

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Víctor Lapeña was named head coach of Canada’s senior women’s national team in 2022, leading the team to a 17-7 record in FIBA competitions since. Noelle Quinn, head coach of the Seattle Storm, was named the team’s lead assistant coach.

Currently fifth in the FIBA world rankings, Canada finished fourth at the most recent FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2022 and secured a bronze medal at the 2023 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup.

The Olympic women’s basketball tournament will take place July 27 to August 11 (Day 1 to 16). Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille will host the preliminary phase before the final phase shifts to Paris and Bercy Arena. Canada’s first game of the tournament will be on July 29 (11:15 a.m. ET / 8:15 a.m. PT) against host France.

Written by Hayley McGoldrick

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