Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (with ball) takes a shot against Spain in women’s basketball action in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Raincock-Ekunwe helped Canada advance to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as the team went 3-0 at an Olympic qualifying event in Belgium. (Basketball Canada file photo)

Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (with ball) takes a shot against Spain in women’s basketball action in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Raincock-Ekunwe helped Canada advance to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo as the team went 3-0 at an Olympic qualifying event in Belgium. (Basketball Canada file photo)

Coldstream grad guides Canada hoops to Olympics

Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe and Team Canada went 3-0 at women’s qualifier in Belgium

Former Kalamalka Lakers star Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe has helped Canada qualify in women’s basketball for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Canada finished 3-0 in its four-team qualifying pool in Ostend, Belgium, finishing things off Sunday with a 70-68 win over Japan.

Raincock-Ekunwe started all three games for Canada and averaged nearly 20 minutes of floor time per game. She had eight points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal in the win over Japan.

Canada clinched its spot in Tokyo Saturday with an 80-50 romp over Sweden. Raincock-Ekunwe, who helped lead the Lakers to the 2009 B.C. Senior Girls High School Basketball Championship, had three points, four boards, one assist and one steal against the Swedes.

READ MORE: Coldstream grad paces Canada to Olympic qualifier win

“We’ve experienced the whole gamut of qualification,” Canadian head coach Lisa Thomaidis said on basketball.ca. “A last minute, grind it out [qualification] in 2012, the last possible berth we eked out. Then onto 2016, where we took care of business in Canada and got it done, now for the first time in our tenure, to do it on foreign soil. I just said to the team, to qualify with a 30-point victory is pretty special. I think it really speaks to how far this team has come. I couldn’t be happier for this team and these players.”

The host Belgians grabbed the second qualifying berth to Tokyo from the group.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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