(FREDERICTON, NB) Before coming to Fredericton to join the Varsity Reds, Mikaela Dodig is taking a summer trip.
Dodig is one of twelve players selected to Canada Basketball’s under-18 national women’s team. They’re representing this country at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Women’s Championship, in Valdivia, Chile.
The tournament is a qualifying event for the 2017 FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship.
“I’m so proud and honoured to be on this team,” says Dodig. “I’m looking forward to being able to represent our country on and off the basketball court in Chile.”
“I’m thrilled for Mikaela,” says Jeff Speedy, head coach of the Varsity Reds women’s basketball team.
He recruited the 5’5” guard, a prized prospect who had interest from several other Canadian universities. Speedy feels her work ethic and commitment were among the reasons she was selected to the Canadian team.
“She works so hard and is so committed, and she’s an amazing young woman as well,” says Speedy, who believes the Varsity Reds will benefit from Dodig’s experience.
“It will help us show other young women, from the Maritimes and the country, that we are a place you can come to get a world class education and, at the same time, we can help you pursue and realize your basketball dreams.”
Speedy recently returned from a three-week stint as an assistant coach with Canada Basketball’s developmental national women’s team.
Dodig, from Bolton, Ontario, and her teammates open the U18 tournament against Mexico, on July 13th, followed by games against the host Chileans, on the 14th, and Puerto Rico, on the 15th.
The tournament semi-finals and final will take place July 16th and 17th.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience, and I’m very excited for it,” says Dodig.
The United States, Brazil, Guatemala and Venezuela play in the tournament’s other pool.
Canada is currently ranked fourth in the world in the FIBA youth girls rankings.
“The selection process was competitive again this year, as our team looks to qualify a Canadian team for a seventh consecutive FIBA U19 championship,” said Denise Dignard, Canada Basketball’s Director of Women’s High Performance. “We look forward to seeing these athletes grow in the international context against the top athletes from other nations in our zone.”
The U18 squad is being coached by Carly Clarke, head coach of Ryerson University’s women’s basketball team. Ryan Thorne, head coach of the women’s team at McGill University, will serve as one of her assistants. Both were in Fredericton in March, when UNB hosted the CIS women’s basketball championship tournament.