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Saturday, August 08, 2015
#FIBAAmericasWomen2015 - Group B is all about possibilities
by: FIBA

EDMONTON (FIBA AMERICAS WOMEN) - The 2015 FIBA Americas Women’s Championship has an interesting context: one of the eternal elite national teams of the competition is on the verge of not having to win it all to once again achieve their Olympic Dream.

Group B has that elite national team as the top contender in a Brazilian team that seems to be preparing to be given the automatic qualification spot to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic games. They have brought to Edmonton what amounts to a B team, one that does not have stars Erika de Souza, Damiris Dantas and Clarissa dos Santos in their roster.

That does not mean they are completely out of the picture in terms of ending up on the podium of this 2015 edition of the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship. This team can play and even though they recently finished fourth in a nightmarish semifinal game performance in the Pan American Games against Canada (in which they lost by a score of 91-63), they have proven to be resilient bouncing back to battle Cuba in a hard-fought match-up, eventually losing a close 66-62 Bronze in the games.

They still have WNBA center Nadia Gomes, along with Taina Paixao and Patricia Ribeiro as offensive forces. They also have one of the great stories of the championship with the return of Iziane Castro Marques to the national team for the first time in four years. The veteran is one the all-time great scorers of the Brazilian national team, averaging 18 points per game the last time we saw her in the FIBA Americas Championship stage in 2007.

But Group B is the land of opportunity, where the other four teams have every possibility of catching fire and making it to the semis.

Argentina brings back a team that has a mix of veteran and young players that can do work. There is 22-years old point guard sensation Melisa Gretter, along with Ornella Santana and Andrea Boquete as the young players to watch, but this is still a team that relies on long-time national team member Gisela Vega’s ability to finish around the rim whenever there are buckets needed. Argentina is always Argentina, their philosophy and strong identity are their advantages and in this Group they might prove to be even more important in the crucial moments of the game.

Venezuela is now officially Daniela Wallen’s team. After averaging 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in Venezuela’s Bronze medal run last year in the South American Championship, the 20-year old forward is poised to have big tournament in Edmonton. Normally this team would be considered inexperienced against other continental powerhouses, but with newcomers Ecuador and Virgin Islands in Group B, anything can happen.

Both of those teams are great stories of the 2015 FIBA Americas Women’s Championship. Ecuador and Virgin Island are about to take the continental stage for the first time in the history of women’s basketball in their respective countries.

For Ecuador, years of hosting Women’s South American national team and club competitions have finally paid-off with this debut. What better prize than to have a real shot at making it to the semis by playing in wide-open group? The team comes off having played everybody tough at home in last year’s South American Championship and it should be a confidence-booster for this edition and a team that has Dayana Salcedo as a player to watch in the tournament after being the second-leading scorer of the South American.

Virgin Islands are in the same boat. A team that has never been here, but that comes off of a very good showing in the 2014 Centrobasket Women’s Championship where they were the toughest out for eventual champions Cuba. They had two players in the top ten scorers of the Centrobasket, looking to be noticed in the bigger stage.

The top two teams from Group B will advance to the semis with the opportunity to claim a spot to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics. Every game counts in this group and it will make it a fun start to this 2015 edition of the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship.



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