Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (with ball) helped Canada finish fourth at a pre-Olympics women’s basketball tournament in Puerto Rico. (File photo)

Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (with ball) helped Canada finish fourth at a pre-Olympics women’s basketball tournament in Puerto Rico. (File photo)

Coldstream hoops star helps Canada to playoff round at Olympic tune-up

Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe and Team Canada placed fourth in Puerto Rico at FIBA Women’s AmeriCup

Team Canada finished fourth, losing the bronze-medal game, 87-82 in double overtime to Brazil, at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021 basketball tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The event was a tune-up for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Former Kalalamalka Lakers star Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe played 36 minutes and had nine points and three rebounds for Canada, who had been undefeated heading into the playoff round.

Canada fell 65-60 to the hosts, Puerto Rico, in the semifinal. Raincock-Ekunwe scored three points and added four boards in 17 minutes of floor time.

For the tournament, Raincock-Ekunwe averaged six points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

In the preliminary round, Canada thumped the U.S. Virgin Islands 101-74, edged Brazil 71-67, defeated El Salvador 98-41 (Raincock-Ekunwe with her highest outputs in the event, 11 points and six rebounds) and slammed Colombia 74-40.

The United States defeated Puerto Rico 74-59 in the gold-medal contest.

Getting the chance to go through late-game situations and compete against actual competition rather than each other in training camp was huge for a Canadian group that had been apart for nearly 16 months prior to the AmeriCup. Though the group dropped its final two games of the tournament, there was plenty of good to take away from the last week of competition.

The team will now return to Florida where they will continue training and preparation for the Tokyo Olympics later this summer.

Raincock-Ekunwe helped the Lakers win the B.C. High School Senior Girls basketball championship in 2009. She went on to play college hoops at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, then turned pro.

After a stint with the New York Liberty in the WNBA, she returned to Europe and spent the 2020-21 season with Lyon Avsel in France. Raincock-Ekunwe averaged 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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