PREVIEW: CANADA OPENS OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT VERSUS HOSTS BELGIUM, LIVE ON CBC | Canada Basketball

PREVIEW: CANADA OPENS OLYMPIC QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT VERSUS HOSTS BELGIUM, LIVE ON CBC

Canada (0-0) vs. Belgium (0-0)

When: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2:35 P.M. ET (8:35 P.M. local)

Where: Versluys Dôme – Ostend, Belgium

Watch: CBC, CBC Gem, DAZN (Canada), ESPN + (USA)

FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament kick-off: The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team is in Belgium for the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

This year there were to be four qualifying tournaments to be played in Ostend, Belgium, Bourges, France, Belgrade, Serbia and Foshan, China. After carefully evaluating developments regarding the coronavirus outbreak, FIBA recently announced that they have relocated the tournament originally slated to take place in Foshan, China, and those games will also be played in Belgrade, Serbia.

Roster unveiled: The Canadian Senior Women’s National team announced Tuesday its roster for the tournament.

“All of our players have worked really hard to earn this opportunity,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “We’re excited to get started in a couple days and face a tough opponent in Belgium on their home soil so we’ll be ready for the crowd on hand.” 

Canada’s roster includes Natalie Achonwa, Kayla Alexander, Laeticia Amihere, Miranda Ayim, Bridget Carleton, Kim Gaucher, Sami Hill, Miah-Marie Langlois, Kia Nurse, Shaina Pellington, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe and Jamie Scott. 

The team will be led by a coaching staff consisting of Thomaidis and assistants Steve Baur and Carly Clarke. 

Where to watch: CBC Sports will broadcast all three of Canada’s games and have pre-game, halftime and post-game shows hosted by Andi Petrillo, featuring analysis from two-time Canadian Olympic national team player Lizanne Murphy and former national team player/coach and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame member Bev Smith.

Fans can also catch the action streaming live in Canada on DAZN and the CBC Gem app.  ESPN+ will carry Canada’s games in the United States.

Things to know heading into Game 1 against Belgium:

Tournament format: The 16 top teams from the FIBA Women’s Pre-Qualifying Tournaments are competing in four FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments. Each of the four qualifying tournaments will feature four teams and each team will play three games. 

For Canada’s tournament, the two highest-placed teams, along with Japan, as Host of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament. Team Canada enters the tournament ranked a program-best 4th worldwide in the FIBA World Ranking Presented by NIKE. 

Canada’s tournament schedule: Canada will kick off their tournament play with a game against host team Belgium on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 2:35 P.M. ET. 

They will face Sweden on Saturday, Feb. 8 also at 2:35 P.M. ET and their final game of the tournament will be against Japan on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 12:05 P.M. ET. Finishing as one of the top two highest-placed teams in the tournament would mean that Canada would advance to a third consecutive Olympic Games.

“We’ve been drawn into a tough pool for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but you should have to beat some great teams to qualify for the Olympics,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said after the official draws for the qualifying tournaments were announced. “We’re excited to be heading to Belgium and will face some good competition with strong European opponents and a Japanese team that recently beat Australia in the Pre-Qualifiers. This will be an excellent opportunity for us to continue testing ourselves on the world stage.”