Canada secured their second FIBA Americas title with an 82-66 victory over previous champions Cuba. Canadian power forward Tamara Tatham, who plays for Slovakian team Piestanske Cajky, made it to the All-Tournament Team, averaging stats of 8.2 pts, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for 98 minutes of game-time and six of her Canadian teammates will also be familiar to European fans as they play in the French League. Miranda Ayim, who joined Basket Landes from Toulouse over the summer break, averaged an impressive 10.7 pts, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists over 101 minutes, Lizanne Murphy of Angers (the international player of the year in the LFB last season) had tournament stats of 7.2 pts, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists for 113 minutes of play, Kim Gaucher (9.2 pts, 5.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 109 minutes), who recently signed to Mondeville after a spell with Tarbes, and twin sisters Michelle Plouffe (5.6 pts, 3.0 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 51 minutes), who will also play for Mondeville this year after a season with Arras, and Katherine Plouffe (4.3 pts, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 85 minutes), who recently signed to Nantes, also featured. Nantes will be worried however, at the injury to their veteran point guard Shona Thorburn (5.3 pts, 2.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 57 minutes) who had to exit the floor after only two minutes in the round-robin win against Cuba, with a displaced fracture of the fibula. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile reigning French champions Bourges will no doubt be pleased with the performance of forward Laura Hodges, who came in as a medical replacement last season and will stay on this year, who was instrumental in the second leg of Australia's Oceania Final against New Zealand. She scored 22 pts and took 5 rebounds in 32 minutes of play after recording figures of 4 pts and 2 rebounds in the first leg.
New Zealand will now join Cuba and Argentina along with first-time participants Venezuela (who finished respectively 2nd, 3rd and 5th in the Americas Tournament), in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held from the 13th to the 19th of June next year at an as yet undecided venue. A reminder that FIBA finally decided last week to give hosts Brazil (who finished 4th in the Americas Tournament) a place in the 12-nation Olympic Tournament as of right. With France, Spain, Belarus and Turkey the European nations up for qualification, there remain only 4 spots open and they will go to the 2nd and 3rd placed teams from the AfroBasket Tournament to be held from the 24th of September to the 3rd of October and the FIBA Asia Tournament which will take place in China from the 29th of August to the 5th of September. The champions will go straight to Rio, as will EuroBasket winners Serbia and last year's World Champions, the inevitable USA.