Team Canada announces women’s basketball roster heading to Paris 2024

12 athletes have been named to Canada’s women’s basketball roster for Paris 2024, which will be Team Canada’s eighth appearance in the Olympic women’s basketball tournament since it debuted at Montreal 1976.

For the first time in 24 years – since Sydney 2000 – Canada’s women’s and men’s basketball teams will compete together in an Olympic Games.

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.

Set to become Canada’s first four-time Olympian in women’s basketball, Natalie Achonwa will provide a veteran presence as the team pursues its first medal at the Olympic Games. Achonwa has played nine seasons in the WNBA with the Indiana Fever and Minnesota Lynx.

Natalie Achonwa drives to the basket.
Canada’s Natalie Achonwa (11), front, shoots ahead of South Korea’s Ji Su Park (19) during women’s basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

“It’s always an incredible honour to represent my country at an Olympic Games,” said Achonwa. “Regardless of the tournament or competition, the pride I feel putting on a Canada jersey is always the same. And knowing this is my last time in that jersey, I want to cherish every second of this journey. As a team, our focus and messaging has been the same all quad. We’re all invested in the grind and putting in the work together now to be our absolute best when the lights come on in Paris.”

Canada’s 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 – will join the team later in July during the league’s Olympic break.

This will be the second Olympic Games for Amihere, Carleton, and Edwards, and the third for Nurse, who represented Canada at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

Canada’s roster features seven players with WNBA experience, including co-captain Kayla Alexander, who was selected eighth overall by San Antonio in the 2013 WNBA Draft and played nine seasons in the league. 

“I am looking forward to competing alongside my teammates at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games,” said Alexander, who made her Olympic debut in Tokyo. “It’s a dream to represent Canada playing a sport I love at the highest level. So I thank God for allowing me the privilege of representing my country again. The journey is never easy, or smooth sailing, but it’s made me that much more appreciative of this opportunity.”

Four Canadians – Yvonne Ejim, Sami Hill, Cassandre Prosper and Syla Swords – will make their Olympic debut with Canada later this month in Paris.

Swords is the daughter of Shaun Swords, who represented Canada at Sydney 2000. At 18 years old, she will become the youngest basketball player to ever play for Canada at the Olympic Games.

Since being named head coach of Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team in 2022, Víctor Lapeña has led the team to a 17-7 record in FIBA competitions. Previously, Lapeña was an assistant coach with Spain and captured an Olympic silver medal at Rio 2016.

“We’re excited about the team we’ve built to proudly represent Canada this summer in Paris,” said Lapeña. “After finishing fourth in the last World Cup, we’re looking to take that next step as a program. Eight players on the team have previously represented Canada at the Olympic Games, and this experience will undoubtedly prove invaluable in key moments throughout the tournament. As we continue to prepare for the Games over the next several weeks, we will continue to prioritize getting better as a group every day until the end of the Olympics.” 

Bridget Carleton plays in third game of group phase, vs. Japan, at 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia on September 25, 2022. (Photo by: FIBA)

Canada’s best Olympic result in women’s basketball was a fourth-place finish at Los Angeles 1984. 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.

Last week, Canada defeated Portugal 91-65 in an exhibition game in Victoria, B.C. The team will now travel overseas to Belgium and Spain as they continue their training camp and exhibition schedule before arriving in France.

The 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.

Women’s Basketball Athletes at Paris 2024:

Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, Ont.)
Kayla Alexander (Milton, Ont.)
Laeticia Amihere (Mississauga, Ont.)
Bridget Carleton (Chatham, Ont.)
Shay Colley (Brampton, Ont.)
Aaliyah Edwards (Kingston, Ont.)
Yvonne Ejim (Calgary, Alta.)
Nirra Fields (Montreal, Que.)
Sami Hill (Toronto, Ont.)
Kia Nurse (Hamilton, Ont.)
Cassandre Prosper (Montreal, Que.)
Syla Swords (Sudbury, Ont.)