Fisher Basketball Player Earns Spot on Latvian National Team
Rising junior Liga Astra Kalnina, a forward for the St. John Fisher College women’s basketball team, will represent her home country of Latvia in the U20 FIBA Women’s European Championship. She was one of just 12 players selected to the final roster.
The Latvian team, which is ranked No. 24 in the world according to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), has participated in the Women’s European Championship 11 times since 2000 and finished third three times overall.
The action begins on Saturday, July 7, as Latvia takes on No. 52 Poland in Sopron, Hungary. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. (EST). In five head-to-head matchups, the Latvian team owns a 3-2 overall record against Poland. The two teams have not faced off in international competition since 2010, when Latvia came out on top, 63-49.
From there, the team takes on No. 14 Hungary at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, July 8, before closing out group play at 7:30 p.m. (EST) on Monday, July 9, against No. 23 Croatia.
In all, 16 teams will play in four groups. Kalnina, along with her teammates, will play in Group C along with Poland, Hungary, and Croatia. Group A is comprised of Germany, Russia, Serbia, and Slovenia while Group B consists of France, Italy, Slovakia, and Sweden. Group D contains Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, which has claimed back-to-back U20 championships.
Kalnina, who is the only Division III player on the Latvian roster, had a breakout season for the Cardinals in 2018 after producing 3.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in 14.5 minutes of action on average. In 26 appearances, Kalnina pulled down 11 rebounds or more in a game seven times including a career-high 15 boards in a win over Utica College.
Fisher had a banner year under first-year head coach Melissa Kuberka as the Cardinals won the Empire 8 Regular Season Championship. Overall, the team produced a 21-6 record and played to a 15-1 mark in the Empire 8 standings. The Cardinals posted 14 consecutive wins during the course of the season and won 18 of their last 20 games.