Former Barrie Central Collegiate hoops star Kayla Alexander will represent Canada at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup at Tenerife, Spain, set for September 22-30.
The six-foot-four forward with Indiana Fever of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is one of 12 players named to the Canadian team, which is currently ranked a program-best fifth in the FIBA World Rankings. Alexander is thrilled she will get to represent her country.
“I’m truly grateful and thankful for the opportunity to represent Team Canada this summer,” said the 27-year-old on her Twitter feed after being named to the team. “(It’s) a goal I have been chasing after for quite some time, which makes this moment extra special to me.”
Alexander also played for both Canada’s under-19 women’s national team and the under-18 women’s national team.
She has no shortage of accolades on the court. After leading Central Collegiate to a city championship, she attended Syracuse University on basketball scholarship, where she led the team with 69 blocks and was selected to both the Big East All-Freshman Team and Big East All-Academic Team. As a sophomore, she led Syracuse in points, blocks, field goal percentage and free throw percentage and was named to the All-Big East First Team. She led the Big East and ranked 19th nationally with 2.6 blocks per game en route to setting the single-season school record with 96 blocks as a junior.
She capped her outstanding university career earning All-America honorable mention accolades as a senior in 2012-13. She finished her career at Syracuse as the school’s all-time leader in points, blocks, field goals, free throws made and games played before being selected eighth overall by San Antonio in the 2013 WNBA Draft.
Alexander has also played internationally in Russia and France.
This will be Canada’s ninth appearance at the FIBA Women’s Basketball Cup. They will be in Group A at the event and will face Greece (Sept. 22), Korea (Sept. 23) and France (Sept. 25) in the group phase.
“After a very competitive training camp, we have a roster that we’re really excited about,” said Canada’s senior women’s head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “We’re looking forward to this next stage of training and competition, where we’ll be able to measure ourselves against some of the best teams in the world prior to competing at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.”
Prior to the World Cup, Canada will take part a two-game exhibition series against Japan and the USA at Bridgeport, Connecticut and will face France and Senegal in a four-team tournament in Antibes, France.
Collingwood native Max Hirst was named to the Canadian women’s team coaching staff as the coordinator, performance analysis.
Photo: Former Barrie Central Collegiate star and Syracuse University standout Kayla Alexander, left, will represent Canada at the 2018 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Syracuse University photo