MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canada Basketball today named Minnesota Lynx forwards Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton to their Tokyo 2020 Olympics Women’s Basketball 12-player roster.
The Guelph, Ontario native Achonwa is making her third Olympic appearance, after competing in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games for Canada. She has been a member of the national team program for over a decade, after making history as the youngest player ever selected at age 16. In her last Olympic games, the 6-3 forward appeared in all six contests for the Canadian team and averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds during 11.4 minutes per game. In 2020, Achonwa competed in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament that went 3-0 to secure Canada’s third consecutive Olympic appearance where she averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds and earned Tournament All-Star Five honors. The six-year WNBA veteran Achonwa has appeared in eight contests for Minnesota and holds season averages of 3.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 11.3 minutes of play.
“Every time I get the call to represent my country and wear a Canada jersey, it’s a tremendous honor for me,” said Achonwa. “I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I’m going to my third Olympics, but even through a pandemic, an Olympic games delay, COVID restriction difficulties, our goal remains the same: bring a medal back to Canada.”
Carleton will be making her Olympic debut with Team Canada but joined Achonwa as a member of the 2020 FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament team and averaged 5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists during the games. The 6-1 forward from Chatham, Ontario also appeared in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in 2019 and averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in the three contests she played in. Carleton has appeared in 14 games for Minnesota (seven starts) and has averages of 4.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists this season.
“I am so honored to be representing Canada and going to my first Olympic Games,” said Carleton. “It’s been a dream of mine to be an Olympian ever since I can remember so it’s pretty surreal that it’s actually happening. I couldn’t be more excited.”
The Lynx have four players competing on Olympic teams with forward Napheesa Collier and center Sylvia Fowles named to Team USA. They will join Lynx Head Coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve who is serving as an assistant coach during the games.
The XXXII Olympic Games women’s basketball competition will be held July 26 – Aug. 8 at the Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan. Canada will compete in Group A, where they will face South Korea, Serbia and Spain.