Last summer, Cuba claimed a runners-up finish at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Edmonton, Canada, and as result failed to secure direct qualification for the Olympics.
"Rio is the place to be in August," Casanova told FIBA.com.
Cuba have been drawn in Group A along with hosts France and New Zealand.
I have never faced either of those teams. I know they are quality teams, but our goal is to win the pre-olympics and go to Rio. - Casanova
To keep their Plympics aspirations alive, Cuba would need to finish in the top two of the group. If they achieve this, they would take on a team from a Group B that consists of Cameroon, Turkey and Argentina. The winner of that game could clinch a spot for Rio 2016.
In Cuba everyone hopes to see us in the Olympics, and we are focused on reaching our goal. - Casanova
Casanova was part of the Cuban team that did everything almost right at the 2008 WOQT, but which was unable to stop Brazil when it mattered most, losing 72-67 in the battle for the fifth and final qualifying place for the Beijing Olympics. Cuba returned home with a 3-2 mark, and then 20-year-old Casanova contributed 2.4 points and 1.6 assists.
"It was a great experience, but now I feel more mature and more experienced. The international competitions that I have taken part of have helped me develop my game, so I can help my team more,” she pointed out.
In 2015, Casanova was voted one of the top athletes in her native Santiago de Cuba province.
In recent years, Brazil has become a big stage for Cubans players. This season, five players - including Casanova, Clenia Noblet, Ariadna Felipe, Oyanasis Gelis and Yayma Boulet - are showcasing their skills in the country's top flight.
"This is my first international experience. It means a lot to me to get the chance to play in Brazil, and I would love to play in the Olympics for the first time," Casanova said.
Noblet, who plays alongside Casanova for Maranhao Basquete, added: "We came here because we accepted offers to play. It's our first experience playing overseas and it's been great. It's a good league but sometimes officiating teams don’t let you play tough."
The team's second top scorer and leading rebounder in Edmonton last summer in insists Cuba are ready for the fight in Nantes.
"We finished second in the FIBA Americas last year, it was a great result for us. Now we are going to France to compete for one of the five places for the Olympics," Noblet said.