A storm has been brewing in Chile on the eve of the FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Xalapa, Mexico after Spanish head coach Ricardo Gonzalez threw a selection surprise with the omission of Javiera Novion and Daniela Troncoso from his final 12.
The duo have featured prominently during tournaments in recent years and particularly Novion, who was expecting to step out for the fourth time at the event, having amassed a mammoth 18.8 points per game two years ago in Columbia.
Her failure to be included in the final shake-up was also a major surprise since she recently played a key role recently in helping the team take bronze at the South American Championship for Women in Mendoza, Argentina.
Coach Gonzalez explained to the media in Chile that the decision to omit Novion was due to her alleged failure to attend a series of workouts and that the 12 players going to Mexico were the 12 best players and a wonderful group.
However, Novion and Troncoso reacted angrily to their exclusion by expressing dissatisfaction through open letters on social media.
This action subsequently led to the Federation issuing a public statement defending their coach, who tried to shrug off the controversy by claiming it was normal for players to be disappointed.
A statement from the Board of the Basketball Federation of Chile in respect of Novion confirmed: “Obviously, all technical decisions, including whether or not to call certain selected members, are part of the powers and duties of the respective head coach. In this regard, unlike other administrations, the Board does not intervene or affects such kind of decisions. The Board, in full, fully supports the work of Mr Gonzalez and deeply regrets not having players that can be as valuable as Miss Novion.”
Of those players who were given the nod, WNBA experienced Ziomara Morrison headlines and the roster is dominated by players from the Chile Championship winning club, Boston College.
The action in Xalapa gets underway on Saturday 21 September with Chile pitched into Group A with Canada, Cuba, Jamaica and Venezuela.
Chile squad for FIBA Americas Championship for Women: Barbara Cousino, Milena Koljanin, Jennifer Fuentes, Francisca Rojas, Marisol Gamboa, Sendy Basaez, Paola Naranjo, Javiera Morales, Valentina Aragonese, Ziomara Morrison, Tatiana Gomez and Catalina de la Quintana.