See more of the story

They were teammates — and roommates — in Tokyo, but on Saturday, Lynx forward Bridget Carleton squared off against Washington Mystics rookie Aaliyah Edwards.

Edwards smiled as she hinted there might be some competitive in-game "talking" between the two Canadian Olympians. But when Edwards was sitting on the Mystics bench during warmups, Carleton hugged the former University of Connecticut star from behind, grinning.

"I see her like a big sister," Edwards said about Carleton, who scored 13 points in the Lynx's 74-67 victory. "She's very funny. How she is on the court is different from how she is off the court, so it was cool to connect with her on that [at the Olympics]."

At the end of July, the pair will make up two of the four active WNBA players headed to the Paris Olympic Games to represent Canada. While all 12 of the U.S. Olympic players are active in the WNBA — including Lynx star Napheesa Collier — the Canadian Olympic roster, named Tuesday, has only four players competing in the league this season: Carleton, Edwards, the Atlanta Dream's Laeticia Amihere and the Los Angeles Sparks' Kia Nurse. Others play internationally.

In the Lynx's four games before the Olympic break, Carleton will face Nurse on Tuesday and Amihere on July 17. It's a distinctly Canadian stretch for the Lynx (15-6) and Carleton.

"I love having Canadians in the league and playing against them," Carleton said. "It's familiar faces that you know so well, and especially knowing that we're going to be together in a couple of weeks playing for something so big, it's really exciting."

Last preseason, when the Lynx played in Toronto, Carleton became the first Canadian to play a WNBA game in her home country. She certainly won't be the last; in May, the league announced that Toronto would welcome the WNBA's 14th team in 2026.

WNBA standings

This summer is Canada's chance to bring home its first Olympic medal in women's basketball before women's basketball officially calls Canada home.

Both Carleton and Edwards played in their first Olympics in 2021, when Canada failed to make it out of the tournament group stage despite entering as the top seed in its group. Then 24, Carleton was second on the team in minutes played and points per game (11.3) behind Nurse, one of her best friends. But Carleton, normally a sharp three-point shooter, shot only 2-for-13 from three in Canada's three games.

And with COVID-19 restrictions, Carleton's family couldn't see her play in Tokyo. This year, her parents already had their plane tickets booked for their first-ever trip to France before Carleton officially got word she was on the roster.

"Tokyo was the first year with the senior team that I was starting to be one of the go-to players. … All of a sudden I'm starting and playing 30 minutes," Carleton said. "And now I have some of that experience under my belt in big games. I think I've grown into it a little bit more and am more confident in who I am as a professional."

This season with the Lynx, Carleton is shooting 44.2% from beyond the arc and averaging her highest minutes per game (28.9) of her six-season WNBA career, suddenly an early-season starter after Diamond Miller's right knee injury. She earned all-tournament team honors during Canada's fourth-place run at the 2022 FIBA World Cup and contributed 14.7 points per game in February's Olympic qualifying tournament.

Only 19 years old at her first Olympics, Edwards played less than a minute total in Tokyo. Since then, she was an All-America as a senior at the University of Connecticut. Drafted sixth overall in April, Edwards has put up 8.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a Mystics starter.

"I took her under my wing when she was younger than me," Carleton said about Edwards. "It's been incredible [seeing her rookie season]. She has such a maturity about her game and about who she is as a person. She's grown so much during her time at UConn."

Carleton and Canada will face Lynx teammate Alanna Smith and Australia on August 1 in the group stage of this year's tournament. Carleton said she is excited to see Smith — one of seven active WNBA players on that roster — play well, but "hopefully not too well" against Canada.

Seven of Canada's 12 players at this summer's Olympics have WNBA experience, including former Lynx player and five-time Olympian Natalie Anchonwa.

Carleton and Edwards agreed on their team's goal: medaling in Tokyo. Canada enters this year's games ranked fifth. The team's best Olympic finish is one spot short of a medal: fourth, in 1984.

"On the national team, ego goes out the door," Carleton said. "You don't care how many points you score, don't care how many rebounds you get, don't care how much playing time you get. You just want to win."