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Women b’ball going with youth

Justin Marville

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Youth is definitely being served on the court.
Women’s basketball rebuilding project is in full swing as ten uncapped players, including four current Combined Schools Hoopsters, make up a list of 15 ballers heading into the final cut for this summer’s national squad.
The secretariat of the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association released the names yesterday after eight players were cut from the initial squad of 23.
“I must admit we have people that are green, but sometimes green works in your favour because those players generally have no fear and we need that attitude going forward,” said head coach Terry Inniss.
“The young ladies are working really hard though, so we are hoping to get a good product at the end of the day, and once we consolidate on the little things then we will be just fine.
“But I am not disturbed by the make-up of the team because we honestly have the best of what is out there right now, and we have a good foundation to build on so once we do the little things better than everyone else we should be competitive,” he added.
The big youth drive was always a stark reality facing a programme that knew this day was coming after the team hadn’t participated in a regional tournament since the 2008 Centrobasket Championships.
But the rebuilding plan had to be seriously fast-tracked when seasoned veterans Jamila Studer, Wanda Agard-Belgrave, Astrid Alleyne, Jennifer Joseph-Hackett and Irecka Louis all announced their unavailability for the upcoming Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) tourney.
It didn’t help matters any that all five are post players, leaving centre Shakira Shorey as the lone “big” on the team with any overseas experience.
The cupboard isn’t totally bare in the paint though, with young talented forwards Winmalecia Bowen and Shannon Green showing the promise of two future standout post players.
The presence of prolific combo guard Toni Atherley, the country’s best player, and her long-time backcourt mate Sade Clarke should also prove pivotal for a squad that will also be looking to bring along the likes of gifted guards Ashlee Daniel and Tamisha Flatts.
Barbados have been drawn in a very tough Group “A” alongside United States Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and The Bahamas.
Squad: Toni Atherley, Shakira Shorey, Sade Clarke, Ria Phillips, Maria Cumberbatch, Ria Phillips, Winmalecia Bowen, Winmarie Bowen, Ashlee Daniel, Tiffany Thorpe, Tonya Corbin, Tamisha Flatts, Ruth Gill, Jeneice Clarke, Shannon Green, Makela Walcott.