Selection narrows for national team


Senior Sports Reporter


AFTER the second tryout over the weekend, the women’s national team has been reduced to 15 with the final 12-member cut expected to be made during the training camp over the weekend of June 23, leading into the two weeks before they travel to the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Tournament in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said she and her staff have been pleased with the way the players came prepared for the practice at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.

The final day of practice, however, had to be called off because there wasn’t any gym available.

The CBC Tournament for women is scheduled for July 8-12, just after the men complete their competition from July 1-5.

“It’s been challenging, as far as positions is concerned,” said McPhee-McCuin, who will be assisted by American Brittney Ezell, the head coach of East Tennessee State University Buccaneers womrn’s basketball programme in Johnson City, Tennessee, Sharon ‘the General’ Storr, Jurelle Nairn, the director of operations and Jimmy Mackey, the strength & conditioning coach.

“We have a fairly good amount of talent at each position and so that’s the reason why we will wait for the final trials to make the final selection of 12. But it’s been very good.

“There were a lot of learning and a lot of development and the girls have been conditioning in their basketball programs, so when we come on June 23rd, we will only need to implement the offensive and defensive schemes.”

When she initially got the call from the Bahamas Basketball Federation to take over as the new head coach, McPhee-McCuin said there was skepticism and even after she left at the completion of the first trials, there was some criticism in no training programme in place for the players.

“It was only a try out, so everyone was responsible for making the team,” she insisted.

“Now that we’ve gotten it down to where it need to be, we’ve gotten Jimmy Mackey on board t take them through a training regiment and once we return, the players will go through the plays and earn their berths on the team.

• The list of players who are still eligible for the team are as follows:


Ashley Moss, 5-10, 150 lbs; Jonquel Jones, 6-3, 160 and Latoya Rolle, 5-11, 140;


Cedricka Sweeting, 5-5, 125; Cristin Seymour, 5-11, 157; Debenique Knowles, 5-9, 150; Diasti Delancy, 5-5, 140; Latoya Thompson, 5-0, 125; Malesha Petterson, 5-9, 145; Philicia Kelly, 5-10, 158; Taneil Poitier, 5-6, 135


Britenique Harrison, 6-4, 187; Leashja Grant, 6-2, 210; Linda Pierre, 6-2, 180 and Taronya Wildgoose, 6-1, 194.

McPhee-McCuin said they were hoping that Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) hopeful Waltiea Rolle would have suited up to play after she was waived by the two-time defending champions Minnesota Lynx just befpre the start of the season.

“I was saddened by the fact that she didn’t make the cut, but that happen all the time,” said McPhee-McCuin, the head coach of the Jacksonville University Dolphins women’s basketball programme in Jacksonville, Florida. “The WNBA rosters only have 12 participants, so even though I think Waltiea is talented, there may have been a chance that she would not have made the team.

“After we got word that she didn’t make the team, we were excited for the opportunity for her to come home and play for her country, especially because of the fact that she never had the opportunity to do, for whatever her personal reasons for not doing it, I have to be honest and say that I am disappointed because anytime you have an opportunity to represent your country, it is a honor.”

Rolle, who is home contemplating her future, said she decided not to play because she want to concentrate on deciding where she will end up playing as she look forward to continuing her professional career, whether its with another team in the WNBA or in Europe or Asia.

In Rolle’s absence, McPhee-McCuin said they still a credible team that will be put together in the final analyses.

“Our strength is still in our post players, who are around 6-5, 6-4, 6-3, so we are pretty big inside,” reflected McPhee-McCuin, who was a excellent point guard in her heyday. “As far as our back-court is concerned, we didn’t have everybody there for the tryouts because some were in college. But when we do come back on June 13, we will see what the point guards look like.

“Obviously, we have some veterans in Latoya Thompson and Diasti Delancy. Cedricka Sweeting is another point guard who will be home trying out for the team, so it will be interesting. But our post players are decent and our wing players aren’t that bad either. But our point guard position is one that we need to solidify before we start competing.”

On her return on June 23, McPhee-McCuin said if any of the players are not in shape, they will automatically drop themselves from the team because the coaching staff will be focusing on putting together the best 12 players to travel on July 6 for the British Virgin Islands.

• At the CBC Tournament, the Bahamas will be placed in Group A where they will play the Virgin Islands on July 8, the Dominican Republic on July 9, Barbados on July 10. The classification round will commence on July 11 and the final round is set for July 12.

Before they depart, McPhee-McCuin said the team will be engaging in a series of community projects as they bring more awareness to the players and the coaching staff to the community.


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