Months after qualifying for the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Centrobasket Women’s Championship Mexico 2022, The Bahamas’ senior women’s national basketball team is forced to pull out due to a lack of funds. They officially withdrew from the tournament on Monday.
The Bahamas was set to take on some of the top teams from the Caribbean and Central American region, from November 23-27, in Chihuahua, Mexico.
There was initial speculation late last week about the possibility of the team not making the trip. Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) President Eugene Horton confirmed the news on Monday. The cost of the trip was set to be in the range of $25,000, according to Horton. FIBA had extended the deadline for confirmation, but as of Monday, the federation found itself short of funds and informed FIBA that the team wasn’t going to travel.
Donillo “Donny” Culmer was the head coach of the team when they played in the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships in Havana, Cuba, in July. He was set to be the head coach again, for this tournament. He said he and his staff were working diligently with the women and preparing to compete.
“I am very disappointed, very disappointed,” Culmer said. “These women worked hard. We put in the work because we knew what we needed to do after we came from Cuba. We had hit the ground running because we were going to lose some of our younger talented players to school. They would not have been able to travel with the team.”
Culmer said that some veterans who played national team basketball before decided to come out of retirement and get in shape to represent the country. The team was working out six days per week in preparation for the tournament.
Culmer said he knows the women are upset, and admitted that he doesn’t know how women basketball will rebound after this debacle.
“I do not know how things are going to be from here on in when it is time for a women’s national team to form again. The women might feel some type of way – slighted because they put in the work. We had women who came in from abroad to work out and get acclimated,” Culmer said.
Culmer, who coaches both men and women’s night league basketball, feels that the women are being put on the back burner.
“All of a sudden there is no money to send the ladies but there is always money for the men. If The Bahamas ever back their women like they back the men, the women will make it farther,” Culmer said.
At the CBC Championships, The Bahamas placed third to book the final spot to the Centrobasket Championships. The team was able to beat Jamaica 68-57 in the third place game. Overall, the team finished with a 1-2 win/loss record. The team was led in points by a high school player who recently committed to Dayton University, Denika Lightbourne with 14.2 points per game. Britenique Harrison led the team in rebounding with eight rebounds per game and Valerie Nesbitt led the team in assists with 5.6 dimes per contest.