The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has ratified a 12-member senior women’s national basketball team for the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Women’s Championship, set for July 13-17 in Havana, Cuba.
Making up the squad are Britenique Harrison, Philicia Kelly, Valerie Nesbitt, Latoya Rolle, Antonicia Moultrie, Lativia Brennan, Tiffany Wildgoose, Valicia Demeritte, Denika Lightbourne, Roberta Quant, Lorraine Oliver and Karolyn Baptiste.
Donillo “Donnie” Culmer is the head coach of the team and he will be assisted by Devon Johnson and Diasti Delancy. The team manager is Anastacia Sands-Moultrie and Sasha Johnson is the trainer.
Culmer said that the team has been training for two months and they are looking to win it all.
“It has been a struggle with getting facilities to practice in and getting the ladies out,” Culmer said. “We got a good core of young girls come out and we had to pick the team based on who came out. We have some girls here at home who were good enough to make this team but for some reason they chose not to come out. We are prepared to go to Cuba and come back with the gold and if that does not happen, we’ll look to qualify for the next round by placing in the top three.”
The Bahamas is one of five teams vying for one of the three spots, looking to qualify for the 2022 Centrobasket Women’s Championship. That tournament is set for November of this year. The other four teams that will be playing at the Ciudad Deportiva Coleseum in Havana next week are Jamaica, Guyana, the Dominican Republic and the host nation Cuba.
Team Bahamas will tip off its play on Thursday July 14 with a matchup against Cuba at 8 p.m.
The team is a mixture youth and veteran players and Culmer and his staff will look to play at a fast pace.
“I am pleased with the young crew that I have,” Culmer said. “Some of these girls are entering grade 12 and some are just starting college. It is going to be a learning experience for some of them. We are going to go over there and give it a shot.
“It is a team with young legs and my guards will be my strength. Like I said earlier, the set who did not choose to come out would have been able to help the team. Our defense with the full court pressure along with the speed we have should be a good factor.”
One of those young players is 17-year-old Lightbourne, who is a guard entering grade 12 at Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah, Georgia, USA.
“It is a great opportunity and I have to use it to my advantage, because not many people have such an opportunity. I am learning from the older women on the team and that is a priority for me,” Lightbourne said. “At such a young age, I want to do what is best for the team. I want to fill in where they need me or wherever I can help, whether it’s to facilitate on offense, shooting or playing defense. I am just looking to go out there and do my best.”
Team captain and veteran center Harrison said the preparation has been going well.
“We have been working hard and working on our chemistry. I think that helping to lead the team has been going good. I think we all have a good relationship so the respect is there. Everyone listens to each other and we take criticism well. I have been on the national team for a while so I am looking forward to this.
“We have been getting in shape and we are getting a feel for the game. It is good being back and representing The Bahamas. We just want to go out there and do our best and we plan to qualify for the next round. I am looking to go out there and give my all, play some defense and be a good piece for my team to get wins,” Harrison said.
The last time the senior women’s national team played was in 2018 in the Centrobasket Women’s Championship in Manati, Puerto Rico. They finished sixth.