(Back row left to right) Maj Lee Wendland, Capt Amsatou Diallo, Capt Kim Egert, Lt Megan St-Aubin, Capt Abby Edmison, Lt Sandy Lanzinger, Capt Samantha Laplante, Capt Patrick Sullivan, (back row left to right) Capt Michel Gosselin, Capt Carley Lewis, NCdt Blaire Coffey, Capt Heather Smith, Gnr Rachel Krushnisky, and Cpl Nicolle Gaudet. (Submitted photo)

CISM Women’s Basketball team
represents Canada at World Championships

Community News

By Lt Sandy Lanzinger

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2016

Up until this past spring, the CAF had never had a CISM Women’s Basketball Program, but things have finally changed as our ladies came out to play and showed the strength and teamwork of women in the CAF at the 2nd CISM Women’s Basketball World Championship at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, San Diego, California.

This past year has been very exciting for women’s basketball in the CAF. Each region held a three to four day camp where all interested women were asked to come out and showcase their talent in order to better understand the level of interest and talent throughout the CAF. Each camp was extremely successful with turnouts high above the number expected. This showed great promise for a potential league in the coming years that would involve regional and national tournaments just like so many other sports in the CAF.

A handful of women from all over the country were asked to come to an additional camp in April held at CFB Trenton where the CISM team would be selected. After four days the coaches, Capt Patrick Sullivan, Capt Michel Gosselin, and Maj Lee Wendland decided on a team of 12 women from all over Canada and of all trades and elements. The three women who were chosen from Petawawa are Lt Sandy Lanzinger (2 Svc Bn), Gnr Rachel Krushnisky (2 RCHA), and Cpl Nicolle Gaudet (2 RCHA).

The girls only had two opportunities to get together before the World Championship. They had a four day training camp at the end of May in Trenton, and one week together in Esquimalt the week before the competition to perfect all the plays and get to know each other on and off the court. It was a tough week with two practices a day as well as the difficulty of learning a brand new team dynamic and style of play in such a short time. However, our girls were up to the challenge and did an absolutely amazing job learning multiple new offences and defenses, while constantly team bonding. During the training camp the team played two exhibition games against the University of Victoria Alumni and the Camosun College team, winning both games.

Upon arriving at the World Championship in California it was very easy to be intimidated by some of the other teams with their obvious height advantages (China’s tallest girl was 6’ 7”), and ex-Olympians, but this did not discourage our girls. The tournament took place from July 23 to 31 and had a total of six teams attend; Canada, China, USA, Germany, France, and Brazil. Each team played once a day against a new country and at the end of the week a winner was chosen based on points for and against. Unfortunately Canada was unsuccessful and did not win a game, however we did play our hardest and kept each of our games within a reasonable score. Our most successful game was against Brazil where we kept the number one team under 20 points and denied them from playing the fast paced style of game they prefer to play. We also played very well against Germany, where we were beating them the entire game until the last minute when they got up on us by one point and we were unable to recover. The champion of the tournament was Brazil, second the USA, and third China.

As a very young and inexperienced team in CISM Basketball, we met our goals and were happy that we could represent our country on the national scale. Most importantly, it showed that there is a strong community of women’s basketball in the CAF and it’s important that we continue to build the program and develop it into something great. The CISM motto is “friendship through sport” and we were able to achieve that during our time in San Diego through teaching other nations about our military and learning about theirs.