THE Bahamas senior women’s national basketball team at the FIBA Caribbean Women’s Basketball Championships in Havana, Cuba.
BAHAMIAN players Karoyln Baptiste and Denika Lightbourne defend against Jamaica.
DENIKA Lightbourne and Britenique Harrison trap a Jamaican player.
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#IF the women’s national basketball team intends to have any success at the FIBA 2022 Women’s Centrobasket Championships in November in Mexico, interim head coach Donillo ‘Donnie’ Culmer said the Bahamas squad will have to be much stronger.
#Culmer, filling in for Yolett McPhee-McQuin, who opted out to assist the men’s national basketball team, led the coaching squad that included Diasti Delancy and Deven Johnson as they won the bronze medal over Jamaica on Sunday at the FIBA Caribbean Women’s Basketball Championships in Havana, Cuba.
#By virtue of their feat, the Bahamas joins champions Cuba and silver medallist Dominican Republic in advancing to the Americas Women’s CentroBasket, scheduled for November 22-27 in November.
#“Hopefully for Mexico in November, we would be able to field a team more talented because the competition will be more intense,” Culmer said.
#Culmer, however, admitted that having travelled with the team, he got a first-hand glimpse of how intense it is in putting the team together to compete.
#As for whether or not he would be back as the head coach, Culmer said he would love to do so.
#“I love serving my country and I love the game,” he said. “As a country, we need to find why at games our best doesn’t want to represent their country if available.”
#Culmer opted not to go into further details, but team manager Anastacia Moultrie said they heard people complaining that the team was a weak one and it was too small, but they took the players who were committed to coming out to practice every day.
#“We chose young ladies who were committed,” she said.
#“Those who you did not see on the team were one, either not serious about coming out to practice and or believed they had a sure spot on the team, two, some could not make it because of reasons they could not travel or three, some just did not come out.”
#Having spent the past month from May 20 preparing the team, Moultrie said they felt they had assembled the best team from the players available to compete.
#“I am very proud of these young ladies, and we had two of the youngest players in the whole tournament in (my daughter) Antonicia (Moultrie) and Denika (Lightbourne). They all made us proud.”
#Moultrie, a shooting guard/small forward, was the youngest member of the team at age 16. She will be entering the 12th grade at St Augustine’s College, while Lightbourne, at 17, will also be entering the 12th grade.
#The other members of the team were Philicia Kelly, 32; Valerie Nesbitt, 23; Valicia Demeritte, 22; Britenique Harrison, 29; Latoya Rolle, 34; Karolyn Baptiste, 19; La’Tavia Brennen, 22; Lorraine Oliver, 30; Roberta Quant, 45 and Tiffany Wildgoose, 31.
#Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg, the immediate past president of the federation, extended congratulations to the team, now on their path to qualification for the Olympic Games.
#“I extend congratulations to the senior women’s national basketball team, the coaching staff and executive members of the Bahamas Basketball Federation,” Bowleg said.
#“This accomplishment comes on the heels of the victory by our men’s national basketball team, who qualified for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.”
#Bowleg also congratulated Lightbourne, who scored 12 points with six rebounds and five steals and Moultrie, who added six points, two rebounds and two steals in the Bahamas’ 68-57 win over Jamaica on Sunday.
#Lightbourne also finished with a tournament high 71 points scored in five games with an average of 14.2 points per game, while Nesbitt was fourth with an average of 11.8, scoring a total of 59 points.
#Nesbitt was the tournament’s leader in assists with 28 for an average of 5.6 per game and also topped the chart in steals with 16 for an average of 3.2 stripes per game.
#She also had the third highest turnovers with a total of 22 for an average of 4.4 per game.
#Harrison, the tournament’s leader in double-doubles with two, ended up in second place in rebounding with 11 offensive and 29 defensive rebounds for a total of 40 or an average of 13.6 per game. She was also second in blocks with an average of 1.8 after she squatted a total of nine shots.
#The Bahamas eventually occupied the top three spots in fouls with Brennen being accessed 16 for an average of 3.2, while Nesbitt trailed with 15 for her average of 3.0 and Rolle was next with 13 for her average of 2.6.
#Bowleg is currently in Eugene, Oregon for the World Championships in track and field before he heads to Birmingham, England, for the Commonwealth Games next week.
#He said he likes what he has seen so far from his old stomping ground as a former player, coach and executive.
#“The future of basketball is bright and remains in good hands,” Bowleg said. “The Bahamas was also represented at the junior levels, both boys and girls, in seperate tournaments last month. Congratulations once again to Team Bahamas.”