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Canada beats Belgium now one win away from Tokyo 2020

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kia nurse canada beats belgium one win away from tokyo 2020
Canada's Kia Nurse scoops a lay-up against Belgium

Canada’s senior women’s national team kicked-off the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers with a hard fought 61-56 over tournament hosts Belgium.

Needing only two victories to earn a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games — the Canadians came out swinging against 2019 WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meeseeman

Canada, ranked no. 4 in the latest FIBA World rankings trailed for less then two (2) minutes before taking control of game mid-away through the second-quarter — pulling ahead for game-high 16-point lead at 30-14 in the late stages of the first-half. Behind a terrific and supportive home crowd, combined with sloppy last 1:48 minute by Canada allowed the Belgium team to close the half on 9-0 run — trimming the Canadian lead to 30-23 at half-time.

canada natalie anchowa runs over belgium emma meesseman fiba olympic qualifying tournament
Canada’s Natalie Anchowa runs over Belgium’s Emma Meesseman at 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Kia Nurse scored a game-high 19 points, dished out 3 assists and captured 3 steals. Kayla Alexander had an outstanding game, banging inside for 12 points and 3 rebounds. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe also contributed with 7 points, 6 rebounds and Shaina Pellinton came-off the bench — adding 7 points and 4 rebounds. Natalie Achonwa was effective on both ends of the court providing a spark with 6 points and 3 rebounds.

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Canada outscored Belgium 26-8 in the paint and showcased it’s depth, scoring 24 points off the bench.

Belgium was paced by Emma Meeseeman’s team-high 14 points, 6 rebounds. Kim Mestdagh put in an all-around effort with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Canada (1-0) will take on a Sweden (0-1) in their upcoming game for an opportunity to qualify for their third straight Summer Olympic games.

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FIBA

Canada romps Dominican Republic in opener of FIBA AmeriCup 2021 qualifiers

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philip scrubb canada romps dominican republic in fiba 2021 americup qualifiers

Canada kicked-off the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers with a lopsided 89-72 home win over the visiting Dominican Republic at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre (CRWC) in Oshawa, Ontario.

Trailing 40-35 at half-time Team Canada outscored the opposition 54-32 in the second-half to pull away for the double-digit 17-point win. Canada outscored the Dominican 30-18 in the third-quarter and further limited the Caribbean nation to only 14 points in the final 10 minutes.

Andrew Nicholson (Mississauga, Ont.) playing in his first game for Canada since 2017, paced four players in double-figures with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. A key figure on offense for Canada, the 6’10’ former NBA bigmen connected on 7-17 shots and threw-down several dunks — including a big time one-hander that got the standing room crowd to it’s feet.

Philip Scrubb (Richmond, BC) continued to prove his worth with 14 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists on 3-of-7 three-pointers. Kaza Kajami-Keane (Ajax, Ont.) sliced and diced his way to 12 points, a game-high 8 assists and 3 rebounds. Former Ryerson Rams’ guard Aaron Best (Scarborough, Ont.) rounded out the top scorers in the starting line-up with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists.

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Trae Bell-Haynes (Toronto, Ont.) played well in his national team debut with 9 points, 4 assists and MiKyle McIntosh (Toronto, Ont.) 9 points, 5 assists helped Canada’s bench outscore the Dominican Republic 32-12. All 12 Canadian players got in the game and 11 scored at 3 points.

team canada high fives 2020 fiba americup qualifiers against dominican republic
Team Canada high fives during 2020 FIBA AmeriCup qualifiers against Dominican Republic: Photo – FIBA

Canada, ranked 21st in the FIBA world rankings knocked down 32-of-61 (52.5%) field goals and hit on 13-of-34 triples. The foul-shooting on the other hand was pretty poor, with Team Canada findin the bottom of the net on just 12-of-21 (57.1%) attempts.

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Canada’s defensive pressure forced the Dominican’s into 20 turnovers — leading to 29 points off of those mistakes for the Canadian’s.

FIBA AmeriCup 2011 Qualifiers – Canada vs Dominican Republic Highlights

No. 19 Dominican Republic, returned eight players from the 2019 World Cup. Victor Liz the team’s leading scorer in China had a game-high 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Eloy Vargas was next in line with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists and Angel Delgado finished with a near double-double with 12 points and 8 rebounds.

canada dominican republic 2020 fiba americup at campus recreation wellness centre
2020 FIBA AmeriCup Qualfiers at Campus Recreation Wellness Centre in Oshawa, Ontario – Photo: FIBA

Unforeseen last minute technicalities forced the game to be moved from the Tribute Communities Centre to Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre — the beautiful new home of the Durham College Lords and University of Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.

The two teams will play again on Monday in the Dominican Republic. A road victory in hostile territory would put Team Canada in good shape to win Group C with upcoming games against No. 50 ranked Virgin Islands and No. 64 Cuba in the two remaining qualification windows.

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FIBA

Andrew Nicholson back in the fold as Canada starts FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers

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andrew nicholson back in the fold as canada starts fiba americup 2021 qualifiers
Andrew Nicholson slams it home against the Virgin Islands - Photo: FIBA

2020 is shaping up to be another great year for Canadian basketball fans. The Tokyo summer games are less than five months away and Canada has the slim possibility of potentially sending both senior teams to the Olympics for the first time since 2000.

The ladies did their part, booking a spot in Tokyo with a clean 3-0 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament sweep in Belgium earlier this month. The men will look to do same in about four months time, via a once in a lifetime qualification tournament in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.

But before we get ahead to the summer festivities, the first order of business of the new decade for the senior men’s team is the 2021 FIBA AmericaCup qualifiers.

FIBA AmericaCup formely known as the FIBA Americas Championship or the Tournament of Americas is hosted every two years and pits 16 national teams from the Americas zone. Previously, the tournament had qualification implications to the World Cup and the Olympics, but that is no longer the case — although, every game played still counts towards the FIBA World Rankings.

road to 2021 fiba americup
Road to 2021 FIBA AmeriCup
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Canada will kick-off the first of three-qualification windows with a home-and-home series against the Dominican Republic. The FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers includes 16 teams broken down into four groups. Canada is in Group C and will also play Cuba and the Virgin Islands. The top three teams from each Group will qualify for the FIBA AmeriCup 2021.

Andrew Nicholson a former first-round pick, 19th overall of the Orlando Magic headlines the 12-men roster tasked to take on the always formidable and tough Dominican team. Currently, under contract with China’s Guangzhou Loong Lions and back home due to the unexpected break in action in the Chinese Basketball League (CBL) from the deadly COVID-19 Coronavirus — Nicholson, is a timely and welcome addition.

andrew nicholson backing down argentinas gabriel deck 2017 fiba americup
Andrew Nicholson backing down Argentina’s Gabriel Deck 2017 FIBA Americup – Photo: FIBA

The 6-foot-10 forward last played for Canada at the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup — Nicholson’s 12 point, 18 rebound double-double helped the Canadian’s beat hosts Argentina 92-86.

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The roster features four returning players from the 2019 FIBA World Cup as former Carleton Ravens guards’ Philip Scrubb, Kaza-Kajami Keane, join two other U Sports basketball All-Canadian’s in forwards Owen Klassen (Acadia Axemen) and Conor Morgan (UBC Thunderbirds)

Scrubb, a key figure in Canada’s backcourt since the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 championships will earn his 54th and 55th international caps — 44 games played at the senior level and 11 at youth competitions.

The rest of the roster is made up of some new faces as Trae Bell-Haynes and Kassius Robertson make their Canadian team debuts. Most of the players are signed to European clubs with only Duane Notice (Raptors 905), Andrew Nicholson and Tyrell Bellot-Green not playing in Europe.

NamePosition Height Hometown Previous / Current Club
Trae Bell-HaynesGuard6’1”Toronto, ONHelsinki Seagulls (Finland)
Aaron BestGuard6’4”Scarborough, ONPaok Thessaloniki (Greece)
Kaza Kajami-KeaneGuard6’2”Ajax, ONSyntainics MBC Weissenfels (Germany)
Owen KlassenCentre6’10”Kingston, ONTelenet Antwerp Giants (Belgium)
Kyle LandryCentre6’10”Calgary, ABKK Buducnost VOLI Podgorica (Montenegro)
MiKyle McIntoshForward6’7”Pickering, ONFilou Oostende (Belgium)
Conor MorganForward6’9”Victoria, B.C.Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona (Spain)
Andrew NicholsonForward6’9”Mississauga, ONGuangzhou Loong Lions (China)
Duane NoticeGuard6’2”Woodbridge, ONRaptors 905 (G League)
Tyrell Bellot-GreenForward6’7”Toronto, ONLondon Lightning (Canada)
Kassius RobertsonGuard6’3”Toronto, ONLavoropiu Fortitudo Bologna (Italy)
Phil ScrubbGuard6’4″Richmond, BCMovistar Estudiantes Madrid (Spain)

Canada FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Qualifiers

DATEITEMTIME (ET) LOCATION
February 21, 2020 Canada vs. Dominican Republic7:00 PMTribute Communities Centre –Oshawa, ON
February 24, 2020 Canada @ Dominican Republic7:00 PMPalacio de los Deportes Virgilio Travieso Soto –Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
November 26, 2020 Canada @ Cuba TBD
November 29, 2020 Canada @ U.S. Virgin Islands TBD
February 19, 2020Canada vs. Cuba TBD
February 22, 2020 Canada vs. U.S. Virgin Islands TBD
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