As the 2018 World Championships sets to tip off on Thursday 16th August, we caught up with Canada’s Tracey Ferguson to find out the players she thinks will have an impact in the women’s competition in Hamburg.
Tracey knows what it takes to reach the podium at the international level, a winner of three Paralympic Gold medals as well as four World Championships Gold medals. She was also named to two world all-star teams in the process (1998 and 2002).
Since retiring from the international game following Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Tracey has been keeping a close eye on those coming through and gives us an insight on who to look out for.
Rose Hollerman (USA – 3.5)
With good size, great chair skills and a shot that is consistent with good range, Rose is one of the most complete players in the women’s game right now. Teams will be focused on her and I anticipate her drawing double teams often, but she has the skill and strength to fight through them and find the open teammate. The USA team she will be leading is incredibly young, and while young herself, she has a vast amount of experience, which will be an asset.
Jitske Visser (NED – 1.0)
One of my favourite players to watch play, Jitske has great court awareness and makes incredibly smart plays on the court. She quietly goes about her business, constantly working for her teammates, sealing and picking, finishing nicely on her rolls. She has added a mid-range shot to her game that makes her a threat at all times.
Mareike Miller (GER – 4.5)
The German women has a long tradition of solid 4.5’s and the latest making her presence known is Mareike. While not the tallest of the 4.5’s, one of her greatest assets is that she never stops pushing her chair, always playing in the downtime. Her relentless attacks, often lead to her being in an excellent position to score or drawing double teams, freeing up her teammates. Having the Worlds on home soil will be extra motivation for Mareike and her teammates.
Yun Long (CHN – 1.5)
While most teams focus their defence against the bigs or upper class players against China, if you do not account for Yun Long, she will make you pay. Leading the floor for team China, she has speed to burn, breaking the press well and not hesitating to drive the lane despite her smaller size. Her chair skills allow her to guard “up class” in the open court. She does not hesitate to shoot from the outside either, when she is on, making her a “jump” for the defence, freeing up her bigs to get inside.
Looking to the “Next Generation”, there are so many players that are exciting to watch but two in particular will play significant roles for their teams at Worlds……
Bo Kramer (NED – 4.5)
While eyes are often focused on her teammate, Mariska Beijer, Bo has been playing some nice basketball leading up to Worlds. She came off the bench in Rio but now with more court time and higher expectations, she is ready to deliver. She is fast, tall and full of energy. Her range has really improved but often is not necessary as she breaks out so quickly, getting inside, giving the Dutch a second inside threat that is really hard to defend.
Rosalie Lalonde (CAN – 3.0)
The young Canadian is fun to watch as she attacks constantly and drives the lane with a singular focus on getting to the basket and scoring. Her speed enables her to get good picking position, freeing up teammates and creating odd-man rushes with her back picks. With a younger Canadian team this year, combined with the veteran Cindy Ouellet, Rosalie will be asked to carry more of the load and she is certainly capable of being a force on the court.