Optimistic women shoot off against Cuba
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's female basketballers will take on the US Virgin Islands in their opening match in Group B of the Centro Tournament in Mexico City today, starting at 1 p.m. (Jamaica time).
The Jamaicans, who won the Caribbean championships a week ago, will enter today's contest full of confidence. They are set to face Caribbean neighbours Cuba in their second game tomorrow, before closing their campaign on Thursday against El Salvador.
The top-two teams from the group will advance to the FIBA Americas Championships, from which the teams will compete for spots at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
The Jamaicans have always done well at the Centro Tournament, and head Simone Edwards is confident that they will do well this time around.
"We have to win two games in our group in order to quality for the FIBA Americas, and I am pretty confident that we can achieve this target," said Edwards, a past Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) champion for the Seattle Storm.
"We have been working really hard in practice, and so I still have the same faith in the team like I did when we were at the Caribbean tournament. I have no doubt that the players will go over there and work very hard and win some games," Edwards said.
Edwards added that she is satisfied with the team's preparation.
"I am happy with the attitude and preparation of the girls because they have worked really hard, and I am confident that they will give a good account of themselves," she said.
The team, which includes a number of local-based players, has been boosted by the inclusion of the University of Albany'star player and power forward, Sheresha Richards. Edwards said Richards will add depth to the team because she is a versatile player.
"She is very athletic, she grabs rebounds and she can run the floor very well, and so she is certainly a big addition for us," Edwards pointed out.