Canada Basketball is proud to announce the coaching staff that will lead the Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) into this summer’s competitive season. Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis will be joined by assistants Bev Smith and Shawnee Harle. The team will also bring on Dipesh Mistry in the role of Performance Analyst.

“We are extremely excited to announce the outstanding technical staff that has been recruited to join Senior Women’s National Team Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis as we embark on the journey to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.  The combined experience and skill-set this staff brings will have a tremendous impact on our women’s program,” said Denise Dignard, Canada Basketball’s Director of Women’s High Performance.

Bev Smith’s knowledge of the game has been cultivated from her extensive experience as both a player and as a coach. On the court, Smith was one of Canada’s best players and a key contributing member of the Senior Women’s National Team during her first stint with the squad from 1978-88. She returned to the program from 1992-96 to captain the team through veteran leadership and a strong sense of determination before retiring from the sport following the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  As a player, Smith put together one of the greatest careers in school history with the University of Oregon.  She was one of the first Canadian women to play professional basketball in Europe and would go on to have a career spanning thirteen seasons in Italy – the top women’s league in the world, at the time. 

Even before finishing her playing career, Bev was preparing for her next role in the game – as a coach. The Salmon Arm, B.C. native would serve as a player/coach in Italy before returning to her alma mater to lead the Ducks.  She was also at the helm of Team Canada from 1997 to 2001. Two of Bev’s most notable appearances in leading the Red and White saw her 1999 squad capture silver on home soil at the Winnipeg Pan American Games; the following year, she led Team Canada in qualifying for the Olympic Games in Sydney. Smith’s history with the sport affords her an in-depth understanding of the game, as well as the dedication, skill and heart necessary to represent one’s country.

Shawnee Harle brings a wealth of coaching experience and technical knowledge to the SWNT staff. The Calgary, Alta. resident has translated her 23 years as a CIS head coach and her six seasons of international experience with Canada Basketball into her current role as the director of coaching development and as technical director with Basketball Alberta. She served as the assistant coach at the 1996 Olympics and has worked with the Development Women’s National Team (DWNT) for the past two summers.  

Harle is the only basketball coach in Canada, whether male or female, to have achieved Level 5 in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). She has experienced success at all levels while learning from some of the best coaches in Canada. Her contributions to the game go beyond the guidance of athletes; her extensive work with coaches has provided her with the insight to not only work with players, but to also advise her fellow coaches on methodology and motivation. 

Dipesh Mistry brings an analytical skill-set to the SWNT staff.  Dipesh’s expertise lies in his outstanding use of video analysis tools for scouting and player development purposes. The Markham, Ont. native’s experience as the video co-ordinator with the Ryerson Ram’s men’s basketball team has provided him with valuable insight into the examination and deconstruction of team play and skill-development.  Mistry will be tasked with providing in-depth game and video analysis of Team Canada and the opposition in order to assist the coaching staff with an added level of technical information.

Joining the senior staff as guest coach this summer is Fabian McKenzie, who will also be the Head Coach of the Development Women’s National Team.  As head coach of the Cape Breton Capers, Fabian has put together a strong resume with several AUS Coach of the Year awards in addition to his nod as 2005-06 CIS Coach of the Year. His previous years of experience with the SWNT and his time spent at the helm of the DWNT have provided him with a wealth of knowledge of the top level of international play, as well as a strong understanding of Canada’s player pool.

SWNT Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis believes in this gifted group. “I am thrilled with the Staff that we have been able to assemble for this season.  The cumulative knowledge and experience that both Bev and Shawnee bring to the table will be a tremendous asset to our team moving forward.  Both have coached at an Olympic Games, and have the understanding of what we need to do to be amongst the best teams in the world”.

The SWNT coaching staff will gather with 29 invited athletes at McMaster University’s David Braley Athletic Centre for a tryout by invitation taking place between May 17 and 19. The busy summer ahead will see the team span the globe and face some of the world’s elite teams in exhibition and tournament play. The coming months of training and hard work are in anticipation of September’s FIBA Americas Championship for Women set to take place in Xalapa, Mexico.

2013 Senior Women's National Team Staff

Name Position
Lisa Thomaidis Head Coach
Shawnee Harle Assistant Coach
Bev Smith Assistant Coach
Fabian McKenzie Guest Coach & DWNT Head Coach
Dipesh Mistry Performance Analyst
Anne Marie Thuss Team Manager
Sarah Barnes Team Manager
Joan Mlynarczyk Head Physiotherapist & IST Lead
Marcel Charland Athletic Therapist & Massage Therapist
Michelle Bell Athletic Therapist
Jennifer Bushell Athletic Therapist
Dr. Sarah Kim Head Physician
Jordan Foley Strength & Conditioning Coach
Ed McNeely Lead Physiologist