Rising basketball star Bridget Carleton has played in the FIBA World Cup, made WNBA history, been named Big 12 player of the year, and now is preparing to fulfill her Olympic dreams in Tokyo.
The 23-year old is one of four Canadian players in the WNBA and is showing to be a valuable piece to an already-promising Team Canada basketball team.
“Playing for Team Canada is always a priority,” said the Chatham, Ont. native. “Representing my family and country makes me want to play to the best of my ability.”
The pressure of playing in her first Olympics does not overwhelm Carleton, though she says it’s been an adjustment.
“I didn’t play much for the senior team. I tried to just learn as much as I could from the vets. I know now that I am maybe one of the go-to players on the team and playing more minutes it is a huge honour.”
She gives kudos to Canada Basketball legend Kim Gaucher for being an influence on her throughout her basketball career. Carleton acknowledges the positional similarities in their games, and uses that to help craft her own style of basketball.
“Kim Gaucher was the same type of player I was growing up: a tall wing that could shoot it, ability on defence, and presence on the basketball court. I believe learning from her, even now, is still a huge difference maker. Obviously, Kia [Nurse] has also been a big help. We are around the same age and she has played in the WNBA longer than me, so I ask many questions. She has been helpful. “
Coming off her breakout season with the Minnesota Lynx, where she became the third player in league history to record 25 points and five rebounds in her first WNBA start, Carleton has become a promising young star for Canada Basketball. Carleton is calm and soft spoken, but her game is loud being a tall lengthy wing that can really stretch the court.
“After playing in the bubble, I finally got the opportunity to prove to myself and everyone that I can play in the WNBA, the best league in the world,” she said.
Before coming to the WNBA, Carleton played in Australia when she was a member of the Townsville Fire. During that time, she showed flashes of potential being versatile with the ball and being able to score at all three levels on the floor.
Carleton attributes the confidence she gained to playing in college at Iowa State University and her emergence this season to her time in Australia.
Carleton was signed to a contract to play in France. However, due to the impact of Covid-19 she returned home to Canada. She is now training in preparation for another season with the Minnesota Lynx.