Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (7) helped Canada beat host Belgium 61-56 in its opening game at a 2020 Olympics Women’s Basketball Qualifying Tournament. (File photo)

Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (7) helped Canada beat host Belgium 61-56 in its opening game at a 2020 Olympics Women’s Basketball Qualifying Tournament. (File photo)

Coldstream grad paces Canada to Olympic qualifier win

Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe scores seven points in Canada’s 61-56 basketball win over host Belgium

Former Kalamalka Lakers basketball standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe helped Canada to a 61-56 win over host Belgium in its opening game Thursday at the FIBA Olympics Women’s Basketball Qualifying tournament in Ostend.

Raincock-Ekunwe, who helped the Lakers win the 2009 B.C. High School Senior Girls Championship, started for Team Canada and contributed seven points and six rebounds (four defensive) in 22 minutes of floor time.

Canada will face Sweden Saturday (11:35 a.m. PT) and Japan Sunday (9:05 am PT). The two highest-placed teams and Japan, as host of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament.

READ MORE: Nayo grabs gold at Pan Am Games

Belgium is hosting one of four FIBA Women’s Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments. The 16 top teams from the FIBA Women’s Pre-Qualifying Tournaments will compete in the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2020, taking place in February 2020, have been split into four groups.

The remaining 12 countries have been selected to compete in other host cities: Australia, Brazil, France and Puerto Rico in Bourges, France; China, Great Britain, South Korea and Spain in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly Foshan, China); Mozambique, Nigeria, Serbia and USA in Belgrade, Serbia.

Raincock-Ekunwe, 28, went on to star at Simon Fraser University after high school, then turned pro, playing overseas in Germany, Switzerland, Australia and France. She gained her first experience with the senior national team in exhibition games leading up to the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament.

READ MORE: Nayo nabs outstanding honour

In 2015, Raincock-Ekunwe represented Canada at the Pan American Games in Toronto, as well as at the FIBA Americas Championship, winning a pair of gold medals. She helped Canada finish seventh at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

Raincock-Ekunwe spent 2019 with the New York Liberty of the WNBA. She appeared in 19 games, averaging 7.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 2.4 APG (Assists Per Game). She scored a career-high 22 points against the Washington Mystics in September.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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