Virgin Islands Women’s Basketball Team Hoping To Make Home Fans Proud
Virgin Islands captain Victoria Hamilton
EDMONTON – The story of the Virgin Islands team at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship for Women won’t ever be made into a Hollywood movie, but theirs is an underdog tale the likes of which Alberta hasn’t seen since Cool Runnings.
For every obstacle the Jamaican bobsled team had to overcome at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, our own Virgin Islands squad that is competing in Canada this week has one of its own.
The Virgin Islands team still doesn’t have a victory at the Americas Championship, but they came close yesterday, keeping the outcome in doubt until the final moments of a 69-62 loss to Venezuela at the Saville Community Sports Centre that dropped them to 0-2.
“I think they’re going to go from less to be a better team every day,” said Virgin Islands coach William Colon, whose team has the deck stacked against them.
Where to begin? Well, for starters, the team’s first training camp had only seven players. They didn’t all come together for the first time until 3:30 a.m. Saturday — the day before their first game.
Their point guard Yanique Javois flew in from Atlanta, where she is working, to Edmonton to make it in time. Three of the VI’s starters from the team that won bronze at the 2014 Centrobasket Championship — the qualifying tournament for Americas — are unable to compete this week because of job commitments.
Oh, and on top of all that there’s the fact that the Virgin Islands had never qualified for Americas before upsetting Mexico in the Centrobasket third-place game last summer.
“When I got hired to coach the team, I had to travel to Mexico, meet the girls at Mexico, practice one hour, and in one hour we qualified for this tournament,” Colon said. “So that’s a miracle, because I’m telling you without God, there’s no chance.”
The Virgin Islands actually led 17-10 after the first quarter on Monday and trailed by only one point at the half. Captain Victoria Hamilton delivered a superhuman effort, recording 20 points and 14 rebounds in over 37 minutes of playing time.
“We wanted to prove that we’re a team to be reckoned with,” Hamilton said. “We saw something in the papers that we didn’t like, and we just said we’re going to come here, play hard, play together, put it all out there, and that’s what we did. It’s a tough loss, but I think we showed a lot of people that we’re capable of playing with this caliber of team.”
The Virgin Islands plays Argentina today. Please stay “attuned” to the Virgin Islands Free Press for more scores, analysis and interviews.