Istanbul, Turkey — Canada’s Senior Women’s basketball team wrapped up a successful run at the 2014 FIBA World Championships with a hard fought and well deserved 61-53 victory over China to take home fifth-place.
Canada took control of a tight contest in the late stages of the third-quarter to open up a 46-41 lead thanks to the stellar and energetic play of Miranda Ayim (London, ON) who finished with her best game of the tournament with a 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks.
“Today, she really brought it. She was diving on the floor for loose balls, she battling people for defensive, offensive boards, extra possessions, she was fantastic. I’m so happy for her because she wasn’t here in 2010 and played more of a limited role for us in 2012 at the Olympics. So to see her step in the last two years and play a significant role on this team says a lot about her and her buy in with what we are trying to do.” discussed Canadian Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis about effort her undersized post player gave throughout the tournament.
With Canada leading 52-46 and China looking to make one final push, the Canadians swung the ball around the horn and found Katherine Plouffe for a wide-open triple to restore a nine-point cushion at 55-46 with 4:45 remaining. The Canadians maintained their composure, controlled the boards and defended the three-point line to finish the 2014 World Championships with a respectable 4-3 record, earning victories over Mozambique, Czech Republic, France. China while dropping contests to Turkey, France and Australia.
Team Canada Kim Gaucher once again came-up huge for Canada and finished with a game-high 16 points and five rebounds. 18-year old Kia Nurse wrapped her first major international competition with a solid 9 points three rebound, three assist effort and was quick to credit two Canada’s long standing players in Kim Gaucher and Shona Thorburn.
“Playing with the two of them has been incredible, they are two really amazing players, they are genius on the basketball court, they know exactly what is going on. Kim was here at young age just like I was and if I can be anything like a leader that her and Shona are I will be ecstatic about that. They are two of the best leaders that I have been privileged to play with.”
The fifth-place finish is Canada’s best showing at the FIBA World’s showcase since 1986 when it took home 3rd place at Moscow games in the former Soviet Union. Canada will host the 2015 FIBA Americas in Edmonton and will look to qualify for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro for their fourth-straight Olympic games dating back to 1996.