'Our goal is to come back with a medal'

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

Despite some familiar names missing, members of the women's national team selected to participate in the Caribbean Basketball Confederation's FIBA Women's Caribbean Cup feel that what they lack in size, they hope to make up with their heart and speed.

The team, announced yesterday in the foyer of the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, are scheduled to leave town on Wednesday where they will compete in Paramaribo, Suriname, June 17-21.

It was revealed by BBF first vice president Mario Bowleg that they had to go with the team selected after some of the players wanted to be paid to participate on the team.

"The Bahamas Basketball Federation is a non-profit organisation that seeks to obtain funding from corporate sponsors and the government," Bowleg said. "We are not USA Basketball, we are not Canada Basketball, so we can only provide stipends for our players from which our pocket can provide. We do our best to ensure that our players are very well insured."

However, Bowleg said they can only provide assistance to players as is available and they will not allow players to make demands on them when they have coaches, who make the commitment to work with the team without being fully compensated.

Wayde Watson is the team's head coach, assisted by Varel Davis and Anton Francis. The team's manager is Lavardis Johnson and the trainer is George Burrows.

Watson admitted that there are others who could and should have made the team, but he and the coaching staff selected the best team out of the players who came out to practice.

"If we had those players who were committed to the team, yes, we could have had them on the team," Watson said.

"But those young ladies have been committed and they are being rewarded by going to Suriname."

Selected to travel are Taniel Poitier, Valerie Nesbit, Joette Fernander, Brea Forbes (Grand Bahama), Arlia Greene (Grand Bahama), Tracy Lewis, Latoya Rolle, Ashley Moss, Britenique Harrison, Pamela Bethel, Taronya Wildgoose (Grand Bahama) and Shalonda Neely.

"I have good confidence in our team. A lot of us have been playing together since the junior level so we have good team chemistry," said Harrison, a centre.

"I feel we will go out there and give it our best in Suriname," she added.

Moss, home from school in Canada, said although there's a lot of focus on what they are lacking, they have been working extremely hard as a cohesive unit.

"What one person lacks, the next person brings, so you can't say height is our downfall or shooting," she said. "All of us make up one team and we accept the challenge to conquer, or at least try to.

"That is our goal and our mission and we are going to try bring it (title) back."

As a point guard on the team, Poitier said she likes the camaraderie displayed by each member on the team.

"We have a lot of speed and so I think this team is going to be very competitive," she said. "Don't mind the size, small axe cut down big trees, so we will be using our speed to our advantage in the tournament."

Nesbit said as another point guard, a lot of responsibility will be placed on the backcourt and she's eager to make her contribution.

"I have to be a big leader for the team because I am an extension of the coach," she stressed. "So if I do what I have to do as a leader, we will do very well in the tournament."

One of three players from Grand Bahama, Forbes, a shooting guard, said she's confident that with the hard work and dedication that they all put into practice over the past five weeks, there's nothing they can't accomplish.

"We just have to go out there and make it happen," she summed up.

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