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Canadian women's national basketball team guard Teresa Gabriele ices her knee while watching her teammates practice at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday May 16, 2012. (Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)
Canadian women's national basketball team guard Teresa Gabriele ices her knee while watching her teammates practice at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday May 16, 2012. (Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)

Canadian women’s basketball roster set Add to ...

The roster for the Canadian women’s basketball team has been set at the final dozen players, who, late this month, will vie in crucial qualifying tournament to make the Olympics for the first time in a dozen years.

Teresa Gabriele was among those on the list released early Tuesday. The guard is the one member of the team with Olympic experience, having played at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games in Australia.

Thereafter, the team went into a long spiral. Head coach Allison McNeill came on in late 2001, and by 2006, had lifted the team back to the world championships.

The rebuild meets its test in Turkey, starting June 25. Five of 12 teams there will qualify for the 2012 London Games.

Canada is ranked among the top third of teams in the tournament. It has to beat one of the other two teams in its group, France or Mali. Thereafter, Canada has to beat either Croatia, Korea or Mozambique. Should Canada lose at that stage, it would need to post two more wins to qualify.

Among the players not on the final roster is Krysten Boogaard, a 6-foot-5, 24-year-old from Regina and the younger sister of hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard, who died of an overdose of alcohol and prescription painkillers in 2011.

Boogaard, named a team alternate, made the cut to 16 players and spent much of May training with the team in British Columbia. She played three exhibition matches against a strong Chinese squad, which had already qualified for the 2012 Olympics. Boogaard played about nine minutes of each match, but scored only one basket and averaged about one rebound per game.

She was among the more inexperienced players for Canada, having played just one year professionally, in Nice, France, last winter.

“When we got down to 16 athletes, they were all capable in playing for Canada,” McNeill said in a statement.

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