CB: How big of a test will this summer be for the team to get ready for the FIBA World Championships in September?

We’re going to play some really tough teams this summer, and that can only help us get ready for the World Championships. Brazil is one of those teams – ranked 7th in the world, ranked ahead of us – but our team is trying to build off the successes of last summer and keep building towards this summer. Each summer, we have young players and their growth is exponential. At the same time, the veterans we have returning are a very solid group. It’s going to be fun to watch and see how strong we will be by the time Worlds roll around.

      CB: The exhibition games against Brazil will be one of the most difficult three-game sets the team will have until they travel to Turkey for the Worlds. How important will those games be to measuring yourself against elite competition?

LT: First and foremost, playing on home turf is just such a great opportunity for this team. I think that’s the thing we’re going to take the most out of this series; showcasing our team in front of the public. It doesn’t happen very often – where people get to see us play live. Sometimes we play on webcast or TV, but Edmonton playing host to this, having the basketball community come out and support to see the tremendous athletes we do have on this team. But there’s also what Brazil will bring. They’ll be tough and a great challenge for us. I imagine they’ll be missing some of their WNBA players and that will change their roster a bit. So, everyone prior to World Championships, they want to just play some games. No one wants to show their hand but Brazil always plays with a lot of emotion and we have always shown that we’re a team that plays with a ton of heart and toughness, regardless of opponent. These early tests will be good for us to see where we are at and what we need to improve upon prior to September.