Thorburn bound for Olympic qualifier

Shona Thornburn

Hamilton’s Shona Thorburn has been selected by Canada Basketball for its roster of 12 players who will participate in the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women. The last qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympic Games will be hosted by Ankara, Turkey and will take place from June 25-July 1.

Thorburn, a 5-10 guard, had been playing for Girona in Spain before reporting to the Canadian tryout camp.

The others players include: Natalie Achonwa, forward, 6-3, Guelph, University of Notre Dame (NCAA); Chelsea Aubry, forward, 6-2, Kitchener, Bendigo Spirit (Australia); Miranda Ayim, forward, 6-3, London, Istanbul University (Turkey); Teresa Gabriele, guard, 5-5, Mission, B.C., training in Canada; Lizanne Murphy, forward, 6-1, Beaconsfield, QC, Tarbes (France); Krista Phillips, forward, 6-6, Saskatoon, Dandenong (Australia); Courtnay Pilypaitis, guard, 6-1, Orleans, ON, VICI Kaunas (Lithuania); Michelle Plouffe, forward, 6-4, Edmonton, University of Utah (NCAA); Kim Smith, forward, 6-1, Mission, B.C., training in Canada/USA; Alisha Tatham, guard, 5-11, Brampton, training in Canada; Tamara Tatham, forward, 6-1, Brampton, Halles (Germany).

“We are very excited about this group of athletes that we are taking to the Olympic qualifier,” said head coach Allison McNeill. “It was a very difficult decision for the coaching staff, as we had many excellent athletes in camp. When we got down to sixteen athletes, they were all capable in playing for Canada.”

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team will be looking to earn one of five berths that are on the line when they compete in the qualifying tournament. The team will open the tournament against Mali on June 25 and play France the next day to finish group play.

In order to qualify, Canada will need to place in the top two in its group and win the quarter-finals game to qualify. If Canada were to lose their quarter-final game, they will face one of the other three quarter-finalists who lost. They will need to win two games in order to qualify for the last berth into the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

Prior to playing in the tournament, Canada will play two exhibition games against Great Britain in Scotland and in an exhibition tournament in France against Croatia, Czech Republic and France.