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CAN - Thomaidis looks to build on momentum

Toronto, Canada - Canada's new boss Lisa Thomaidis seems to be a perfect fit for the women's national side, one she will lead for the first time this summer.

A native of Ontario, Thomas was an assistant to former coach Allison McNeil, who ended her long spell in charge after steering the Canadians to an eighth-place finish at the Olympics.

One of the aims of Thomaidis is to have success in September at the FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Mexico, a qualifying event for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

Like most of the players she will lead, Thomaidis played the game overseas.

She competed in Greece for five seasons.

Thomaidis believes that gives her an advantage.

"Knowing the international game from a players’ perspective, not just as a coach," she said, "it helps my coaching style and just dealing with the athletes.

"Having played in Europe and knowing kind of what the pro leagues are like over there and what you have to go through and the sacrifices you have to make to play over there and be successful is something I can relate to."

It was during her time as a player that Thomaidis began to visualize herself as a coach.

"When I was playing pro, I ended up getting injured so I got a chance to sit and watch a lot of practices,” Thomaidis said.

"It was probably during that time that I kind of realized I could be a better coach than I was a player while watching the game from another perspective and learning by understanding it in a different way."

If Canada's players and fans have grown accustomed to seeing a fiery McNeil walk the sidelines for 11 years, they are likely to notice a difference with Thomaidis.

"Allison’s very, very passionate and brings a lot of energy," Thomaidis said.

"I’m much more of an introvert and probably not as fiery.

"Not that I’m not as passionate, but I’m more understated in how I communicate."

Expectations will be high in Canada.

Everyone will believe this national team program has a chance to climb higher in the FIBA Ranking Women.

After the London Games, Canada rose two spots to No. 9.

Thomaidis, who was speaking in an interview on the Canadian Basketball Federation website, said: "We have to keep building on the success that we had.

"The big thing for us is to continue on the path that we’ve created and hopefully returning the core of our athletes that were successful in London and integrating maybe some new, younger athletes at the start of this quadrennial and providing them with the benchmark for where they need to be to be the best in the world."

As part of their preparations for the FIBA Americas Championship, Canada will have a European tour that includes visits to Montenegro, Serbia, France and the Czech Republic.

They will also play games in China, and Brazil.


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