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Okanagan resident to play for Canada at Women’s Basketball World Cup

Four years ago, Taya Hanson led Kelowna Secondary School’s senior girls basketball team to its first provincial championship.

On Monday, Hanson was named to Canada’s roster for the upcoming FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia.

The 12-team tournament will takes place in Sydney, and runs Sept. 22 to Oct. 1. Canada is ranked fourth.

Read more: Canada’s men basketball team beats Panama in FIBA’s World Cup qualifying

“After weeks of training camp and exhibition games, our team is more than ready to compete at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup,” head coach Víctor Lapeña said in a press release.

“With a roster that features a range of experience, from Olympic veterans to several players set to make their senior national team debut, our goal is to not only be competitive, but to play an aggressive style of basketball and proudly represent Canada every time we step on the court.”

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Hanson, a five-foot-11-inch guard, is one of two B.C. products on Canada’s roster, with the other being five-foot-nine-inch guard Aislinn Konig of Langley.

Canada will play in Group B and will face Serbia (Sept. 21, 8 p.m. PT), France (Sept. 23, 1 a.m. PT), Japan (Sept. 25, 3:30 a.m. PT), Australia (Sept. 26, 3:30 a.m. PT), and Mali (Sept. 26, 11 p.m. PT).

The top four teams from the two groups will advance to the playoffs.

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Canada’s best showing at the tournament in 12 trips was third place — in 1979 and 1986.

For Hanson, playing for the national team isn’t new, having done so since 2015, when she earned a spot on Canada’s cadette national team that won gold at the FIBA Americas Women’s Championship.

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At the U18 FIBA Americas in 2018, Canada placed second, losing to the U.S. in the final, and Hanson was part of that team as well.

And at the 2019 World Cup, Canada placed sixth. Hanson averaged 24.6 minutes of playing time, scoring 10.7 points a game.

Recently, she played four years at Arizona State University, where she did not miss a single game, appearing in 114 games and making 62 starts, including the last 51 straight. In 2021, Hanson earned all-Pac-12 honourable mention.

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However, this year, she transferred to Oregon University, and she’ll play for the Ducks once the tournament is over.

“We’re excited to welcome Taya to the Oregon family,” said Oregon head coach Kelly Graves.

“Taya plays with a ton of toughness and energy and is going to bring a veteran presence to our team. She has been one of my favourite guards in the Pac-12 the last few years, and her leadership and ability to defend at a high level will be a major addition to our program.”

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