Six members of the New York Liberty earned a ticket to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics through Europe’s qualifying tournaments.
Seven members of the New York Liberty partook in FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments across Europe over the weekend, each competing for a chance to represent her respective nation in Tokyo this summer.
Four of the competing squads with Liberty members (Australia, France, Canada, China) fought their way to the Olympics, which will begin on July 24.
Rebecca Allen (Australia)
Ranked second in the FIBA World Rankings, Rebecca Allen and the Opals stumbled out of the gate in Bourges, falling to France by a final score of 72-63. Allen was a bright spot in the opening defeat, leading the team with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting (4-of-5 from three-point range).
The Opals would eventually recover with wins over Puerto Rico and Brazil to clinch their Tokyo spot. Allen ranked second on the team in scoring (16.0 points per game), rebounds (4.7 per game), and assists (2.7 per game). Additionally, her 58.6% field goal percentage (17-of-29) was good for second amongst all Bourges participants.
Allen was also the only three-pointer shooter to hit over half of her attempts at 64.7% (11-of-17). Her efforts allowed her to make the group’s All-Star Five.
Bria Hartley (France)
Bria Hartley and her French hosts won the Bourges pool with a 3-0 mark. She helped set the tone in the opening win over Australia with an efficiency rating of +26, earned via a 13-point performance with eight assists, seven rebounds, and three steals.
Hartley wound up posting 4.7 assists per game in the victorious trio, second amongst the Bourges group. She would likewise appear with Allen and French teammate Sandrine Gruda in the All-Star Five.
Marine Johannes (France)
Marine Johannes was second only to her fellow New Yorker Allen in terms of successful triples, sinking 10 on 21 attempts (47.6%). She would also finish just behind Hartley in assists, ranking fourth with 4.0 per game.
Johannes saved the best for last, earning 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting (4-of-6 from three) in an 89-51 win over Puerto Rico.
Kia Nurse (Canada)
The Canadians stormed through the Ostend portion of qualification with an undefeated mark, partly behind Kia Nurse’s scoring. Her 16 points per game trailed only reigning WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman.
She came up especially big in the crucial win over Meesseman and their Belgian hosts, leading the team in efficiency (+11) and scoring (19 points).
Her 88.2% overall free throw percentage proved to be huge in securing close wins, as her tally led Ostend participants.
Nurse duplicated the 19-point performance, ending with a pair that solidified things in their narrow 70-68 win over Japan on Sunday.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (Canada)
Canada’s trek was further pushed by Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe’s contributions off the bench. She ranked in Ostend’s top 10 in both rebounds (5.0 per game) and assists (2.0 per game). Her shining moment came in the big matchup with Belgium when she tied for a team-high six rebounds.
Han Xu (China)
Despite a late venue switch from her native China to Belgrade, Serbia had no effect on Han Xu. She ranked in the top five in her group in scoring (13.3 points per game) and rebounds (6.3 per game). She additionally led all participants in blocks (six) alongside fellow WNBA participant Ji-Su Park of South Korea.
Her brightest moment came in the opening showdown against Great Britain, as her 8-of-9 shooting performance helped them make up an early deficit en route to an 86-76 win.
Han also led the team in rebounding in their victorious 100-60 finale against South Korea. Representing the undefeated Chinese, Han would later appear in the group’s All-Star Five.
Amanda Zahui B (Sweden)
Alas for Amanda Zahui B, Sweden failed to qualify for Tokyo after going through a brutal Bourges gauntlet of Japan, Canada, and Belgium. Zahui B did what she could to break their streak of international futility, ranking in the top five amongst her combatants in rebounds (5.7 per game) and third amongst her countrywomen in scoring (8.3 points per game).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490