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Four Canadians on Wnba Rosters as Season Kicks Off Tonight



May 24, 2019

TORONTO, Ont. (May 24, 2019) – As the 23rd WNBA regular season begins tonight, Canadian fans will have plenty to cheer about this summer as four players from Canada have made opening night rosters.

Now entering her fifth season in the league, veteran forward / centre Natalie Achonwa is looking to build off a career year in 2018.  Starting all 34 games for the Fever, Achonwa, who was drafted ninth by Indiana in 2014, established new career highs in points (10.3), rebounds (6.9), assists (1.4), steals (0.8) and blocks (0.6).

Forward / centre Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe is back for her second year with the New York Liberty after spending last summer with Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team preparing for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018.  In 32 games with the Liberty in 2017, Raincock-Ekunwe, who played for Simon Fraser University, averaged 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

After being selected 10th overall by New York a season ago, guard Kia Nurse made an instant impact with the Liberty.  Appearing in all 34 games during her rookie season, the Hamilton, Ont. native finished second on the team in scoring, averaging 9.1 points per game.  Nurse returns for her sophomore season with New York after helping the University of Canberra Capitals capture their eighth WNBL Championship.

Raincock-Ekunwe and Nurse will kick off the season versus their Team Canada teammate Natalie Achonwa and the Indiana Fever tonight at 8:00 PM (NBA TV, YES).

Bridget Carleton became the 17th Canadian player to be selected in the WNBA Draft when she was selected last month by the Connecticut Sun with the 21st pick. In her senior season at Iowa State, Carleton was named Big 12 Player of the Year and received the Cheryl Miller Small Forward Award after establishing school records for points scored (760), scoring average (21.7 PPG), field-goals made (254) and field-goals attempted (543).  

Carleton and the Suns open the season on Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 PM (Twitter) against the Washington Mystics.

All four players were extended invitations to attend the Canada's Senior Women's National Team Program Assessment Camp, however are unable to participate due to WNBA commitments.


<table border="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td>&nbsp;</td><td><strong>Name</strong></td><td><strong>Age</strong></td><td><strong>2017-18 Team</strong></td><td><strong>Team</strong></td></tr><tr><td><p><img alt="" style="width: 125px; height: 91px;" src="/files/2019-05/nat.jpg"></p></td><td><p><b>NATALIE ACHONWA</b></p></td><td><p>26</p></td><td><p>Indiana Fever</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>34 GP, 10.3&nbsp;PPG, 6.9&nbsp;RPG, 26.0&nbsp;MPG</p></td><td><p>Indiana Fever</p></td></tr><tr><td><p><img alt="" style="width: 125px; height: 91px;" src="/files/2019-05/bridget_headshot.jpg"></p></td><td><p><b>BRIDGET CARLETON</b></p></td><td><p>22</p></td><td><p>Iowa State Cyclones (NCAA)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>20 GP, 21.7&nbsp;PPG, 8.6&nbsp;RPG, 35.0 MPG</p></td><td><p>Connecticut Sun</p></td></tr><tr><td><p><img alt="" style="width: 125px; height: 91px;" src="/files/2019-05/kia_headshot.jpg"></p></td><td><p><b>KIA NURSE</b></p></td><td><p>23</p></td><td><p>New York Liberty</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>34 GP, 9.1&nbsp;PPG, 2.4&nbsp;RPG, 22.8&nbsp;MPG</p></td><td><p>New York Liberty</p></td></tr><tr><td><p><img alt="" style="width: 125px; height: 91px;" src="/files/2019-05/nayo.jpg"></p></td><td><p><strong>NAYO RAINCOCK-EKUNWE</strong></p></td><td><p>27</p></td><td><p>Team Canada (World Cup)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>6 GP, 8.2 PPG, 6.5&nbsp;RPG, 25.8 MPG</p><p>&nbsp;</p></td><td><p>New York Liberty</p></td></tr></tbody></table>