Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Dream denied: After workout with Atlanta, Puerto Rican federation refuses to release Carla Cortijo to play in WNBA

Published on August 7, 2015


Carla Cortijo playing for Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rico. Photo: BSNF.

Carla Cortijo playing for Gigantes de Carolina in Puerto Rico. Photo: BSNF.

Update: El Nuevo Día reported on August 10 that the federation decided not to prevent Cortijo for playing in the WNBA. The organization’s members unanimously voted to release her from her obligations with the national team to play in the FIBA Americas championship. Puerto Rico lost to Canada in the opening round of the tournament on Sunday, 94-57. Cortijo is not with the team in Edmonton.

The Basketball Federation of Puerto Rico denied ex-Texas point guard Carla Cortijo a chance to sign a contract with the Atlanta Dream according to the former Longhorn standout.

Cortijo worked out with the Dream in the hopes of securing a roster spot. However, the Puerto Rican federation would not to release the guard from her commitment to play for the national team in the upcoming FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Edmonton, Canada. The tournament takes place August 9 -16. The FIBA event is a qualifier for the Olympics. Puerto Rico came in sixth place in last month’s Pan American Games in Toronto. In a game against the United States, Cortijo scored 25 points and dished out five assists. Overall, she averaged 19.7 points per game, 10 assists per game and shot 79.2 percent from the free throw line in the during the competition. According to Cortijo, she was set to sign with the Dream for the rest of the season and was on her way to the airport to join them for today’s game versus Indiana when she heard from the federation that she would not be released. “Now I understand why many basketball players and athletes choose not to play for Puerto Rico,” wrote Cortijo on her Facebook page according to Metro PR. She mentioned sacrifices she made to play for the national team, playing through injuries and never complaining. Cortijo graduated from Texas in 2009 and played under Fever assistant coach Gail Goestenkors. She led the team in assists, is 7th on the all-time assists list for Texas and 8th in steals. Puerto Rico begins play in the FIBA Americas tournament on Sunday against Canada. Realistically, Puerto Rico does not have a chance at winning the gold medal in the competition. Canada is the favorite. Other countries set to play in Edmonton include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Virgin Islands. A spokesperson for the Atlanta Dream indicated that Cortijo had an evaluation with the Dream and “after it was determined that she was not going to be released from her commitment to the Puerto Rican National Team she was not offered a contract.” “She was committed to the qualifier tournament this weekend with the national team and therefore she was not permitted to pursue the opportunity. As with all eligible players, we will continue to evaluate her as well as others as future possibilities to be added to the roster.” The winner of the FIBA Americas tournament receives an automatic qualification to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. The U.S. qualified by winning the 2014 FIBA World Championship and thus will not compete in Edmonton. Social media reaction Many Puerto Rican fans voiced their disapproval of the federation’s decision on Twitter, elevating Cortijo to the top of trending topics in the U.S. territory.



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