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Thomaidis stays at the helm
TORONTO (FIBA Women's World Championship/2015 FIBA Americas Women's Championship) - There was never any doubt that Lisa Thomaidis would retain the reins of Canada's senior women's squad for this summer.
The country recently confirmed that Thomaidis would continue in the job for 2015, but that was a mere formality.
In her two years at the helm since succeeding Allison McNeill, Thomaidis had guided the national side to a runners-up finish at the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women and fifth place at the 2014 FIBA Women's World Championship.
Her squad played hard from start to finish at Turkey 2014 and showed they have the potential to become one of the top sides in the international game for years to come.
So when Canada Basketball made the announcement about the full coach and staff line-up for the Women's High Performance 2015 competitive season, they confirmed that Thomaidis would indeed stay in charge of the senior side with Bev Smith, Shawnee Harle and Steve Baur working as her assistants.
Since the World Championship in Turkey, Thomaidis has moved from strength to strength as a coach.
She has led her University of Saskatchewan team to the 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Women's Final 8 as the No. 4 ranked team in Canadian college hoops.
This summer, she will guide the Canada senior team in two prestigious tournaments on home soil.
They will compete at the 2015 Pan Am Games (16-20 July) in Toronto and the FIBA Americas Championship for Women (August 9-16) in Edmonton.
Thomaidis spoke to the Edmonton Journal about the opportunity for Canada to compete in front of their own fans.
"Up to now, it's been, like, we know we're playing at home, we know we're playing for an Olympic berth," she said.
And it's going to happen in Edmonton, which is huge for us - Thomaidis
"We're always having to go to foreign countries, South American countries to try to qualify and get the biggest berth to the most important and largest multi-sport event we can possibly go to.
"To have a chance [at that] on home soil is massive for our program.
"I think that's what hosting has done for women's soccer, for their sport and their program; we're hoping this is going to be the same for ours. Because we compete in relative anonymity."
Instead of having to hit the road and take some exciting but nevertheless tough tours, the Canadians will have home comforts.
"It's a dream summer for us," Thomaidis said. "It sets itself up quite nicely for us as far as preparation.
"You don't have to get acclimatized to your environment, you don’t have any (extreme) time-zone changes. Edmonton is home to us now; we've been there for a couple of summers. We’re very accustomed to the facility and our surroundings.
"We've got all the advantages we can possibly get. Now we just have to get the job done."