Carleton brushes off Connecticut cut, eyes opportunity to represent Canada

Chatham's Bridget Carleton plays for Team Canada vs. Serbia during the FIBA 19U World Women's Championships in Russia. (Photo courtesy of FIBA.)

Chatham’s Bridget Carleton isn’t letting a disappointing start to her pro basketball career get her down.

Instead, the 22-year-old Iowa State grad — who was recently cut by the WNBA team that drafted her earlier this year — is using the move to take advantage of an opportunity to play for her country.

She will be flying out to Edmonton on Friday to train with Team Canada ahead of the Pan American Games in Peru.

“Playing for the national team is always my number one goal — no matter what I’m doing, that’s always going to be my priority,” said Carleton. “Then… hopefully, playing in the Olympics one day… that’s my dream and it always has been.”

Carleton is not officially on the roster for Canada’s Pan Am team yet, but she is expected to join the team if one of the other twelve players is ruled out with an injury.

Named as a second-team All-American by ESPN-W in her senior year at Iowa State, Carleton also won the 2019 Cheryl Miller Award for the best small forward in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

She also has some recent experience competing at the international level — Carleton was Canada’s youngest player at the FIBA World Cup in September 2018.

There is still a chance she will be picked up by another WNBA team, but in the meantime, Carleton is also looking forward to playing professionally in Australia in the winter. She has signed with the Townsville Fire of the Women’s National Basketball League.

“It’s kind of the expectation as a female basketball player — the WNBA is through the summer and then you go overseas to play professionally because there are no other leagues in North America,” said Carleton. “I’m excited for that, it’ll be fun. In Australia, it will be their summertime during our winter, so I’m really looking forward to that.”