(ISN) – University of Saskatchewan women’s basketball coach Lisa Thomaidis is making a bid to help Canada’s Senior Women’s Team earn a spot at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London.

Thomaidis, a two-time CIS Coach of the Year, has been an assistant coach with the national senior women’s team since 2001 and is looking to help Canada’s women get back to the Olympic Games for the first time since 2000. Canada has qualified in 1976, 1984, 1996 and 2000 but has never won a medal in women’s basketball. Canada’s best finish was fourth in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

The team has been in Europe playing a series of exhibition games to prepare for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women in Ankara, Turkey next week. The tournament will decide which teams will qualify for the 2012 London Games. It features 12 teams with the top five earning berths into the Olympics. Canada is placed in Group D that also features France and Mali.

Canada faces Mali in their first game of the tournament Monday at 2:15 p.m. They then face France at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday. In exhibition games since May, Canada has gone 5-3 including a 66-41 loss to France last week.

In order to qualify, Canada will need to place in the top two in their group and win their quarter-final game to qualify. If Canada were to lose their quarter-final game, they will face one of the other three quarter-finalists who lost and would need to win two games in order to qualify for the last berth into the Olympics.

Competition for women’s basketball in the Olympics starts July 28 and ends August 11.

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