“Hotter than July” like a Stevie album may be the forever forecast in the Gold Coast of Australia right now, but after icing the semi-finals of the 2018 Commenwealth Games like birthday cakes, Canada look to bring a cold front down under. So we hope you brought your big coats from earlier this years Pyeonchang Winter Olympics. Because you’ll need them. Its time to zip and wrap it all up.
Beating the Aussie neighbouring New Zealand 88-86 at the buzzer last night, even the fear striking pre-game ritual of the haka in all it’s glory couldn’t stop the Canucks (like the hack-a-Shaq on them rare nights when the diesel was all fuelled up from the free-throw line). Because Mamadou Gueye had the sauce and the dressing, as he threw up the prayer off the glass and the basketball Gods banked an answer. His shot may have looked like one of 10 year veteran turned Laker, Andre Ingram, but it was the right pitch and strike like ‘Dre throwing the first one at Dodger Stadium the same night last. No foul ball or referee call. Far flung like a hot potato with seconds to spare in the games oven. Despite throwing it over the coat cloaked defender from way behind the line with his outstetched and contured body looking like Gueye was kick hip-checked, it was all cash off the glass as he stunted the Tall Blacks for a whole continent declaring, “We The North” like the 6.
It hasn’t been this nasty since Nash saw red maple and white, flying the flag. Captain Canada we salute you!
Making up for the Canadian womens national team, semi-final upset to number 21 world ranked Great Britain, 65-53 behind 20 from G.B.’s Rachael Vanderwal. Canada overcame a NZ off the ropes rally from 21 down and brought the knockout punch in a game that could have all gone due south like that dog Diefenbaker against the Kiwis. Now all that stands in the way of gold in the Gold Coast is host nation Australia, who sucker-beat previously unbeaten Scotland (who now take on New Jealand for the bronze podium position) 103-46, behind 17 from star Jesse Wagstaff. Not to mention the country who thrased Canada by 40 points in the pools. No shallow feat staring in the upset waters of what could be defeat.
But revenge is always a dish best served cold. No matter how long the games been on the grill.
Time to lower the boom.
Here it comes…
Canada draws Group of Death 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup
Canada’s path to a 2019 FIBA basketball World Cup medal and hopes of a 2020 Olympic berth took a serious blow prior to the start of the games as No. 23 Team Canada was drawn into the group of death — alongside global powerhouses No. 6 Lithuania, No. 11 Australia, and No. 37 Senegal.
For Canada to have a shot at getting to the podium they will have to finish in the top two spots of Group H to advance to second round of the tournament — where the top 16 teams will be split into four new groups (Groups I, J, K, L). If it reaches that stage Team Canada will once again have to finish in the top two to advance to the quarter-finals.
Canada’s road to the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics is a complex and tough process — given FIBA’s decision to make the World Cup apart of the qualification process. Seven spots are currently up for grabs at FIBA’s flagship event and with hosts Japan earning an automatic entry the room for error is minuscule.
To reach the Olympics, Canada will have to finish as one of the top two teams from the seven team America’s region that features the world’s number one squad in the United States of America alongside traditional mainstays Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Venezula and Puerto Rico.
If Canada is unable to secure a spot as one of the two top America’s region teams, they will hope to be amongst the top 16 teams at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup where they will be granted automatic qualification to a last chance tournament taking place next summer at a yet to be determined locations. If unable to finish in the top 16, Canada’s last hope would be one of the last eight countries that FIBA would invite for one of the last-chance qualifier tournaments.
Therefore, if Canada has any hopes of qualifying for the 12-team 2020 Summer Olympics via the World Cup they will need to advance from Group H one as top two teams, failure to advance in the premilinary round will automatically put Canada’s hopes at the mercy FIBA via the invitation tournament only.
Should Canada reach the second-round they will be placed in the newly formed Group L, alongside Group G winner and runner-up — potentially setting up another group of death with No. 3 France, No. 11 Germany, No. 11 Australia or No. 6 Lithuania.
To make matters worse for the Canadians, they have been pooled on the same half of the draw as the United States — which would mean a potential quarter-finals match-up between the two neighbouring nations, if Canada can somehow get there.
If the Canadians can reach the quarter-finals there is a good chance they alongside the USA would be last two standing Americas teams — thus earning automatic berth to Tokyo 2020.
As evident, by the World Cup draw and given FIBA’s recent changes it’s clearly going to be a tough road for the Canadians to fullfill their 2020 vision of becoming a global basketball powerhouse.
Canada opens up the World Cup against Australia on Saturday August 31st and will take on Lithuania on two days rest on Monday September 2nd beforing concluding Group H action against Senegal on Wednesday September 4th, 2019. All of Canada’s preliminary round games will be played in Dongguan, China
Kia Nurse wins Australian pro championship
Kia Nurse of Hamilton, Ont., finished second in MVP voting as she helped the University of Canberra to a WNBL Championship today in Australia.
Nurse, a six-foot guard, had 12 points and three assists in a 93-73 victory over the Adelaide Lightning in a series-clinching Game 3 at home in AIS Arena.
“Thank you … for giving me an opportunity to play with an amazing group of women,” Nurse said on Twitter after the win.
This was the latest in a series of high-profile achievements for the former University of Connecticut standout.
Nurse is coming off a solid rookie season in the WNBA, where she averaged 9.1 points per game with the New York Liberty.
New York finished out of the playoffs, and Nurse transitioned to the Australian Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) during the offseason.
Many WNBA players spend the offseason in other pro leagues, in part because salaries are low.
The average WNBA player makes less than $72,000 according to the Canadian Press.
Nurse had a larger role with Canberra, roughly averaging 18 points, five rebounds and two assists per game.
Canberra’s 2-1 series win over Adelaide gave the club its eighth WNBL title.
Nurse finished second to Canberra captain Kelsey Griffin in voting for the Rachael Sporn Grand Final MVP award, according to CP.
At 22, Nurse is arguably Canada’s best-known women’s player, thanks in part to her long-running involvement with Team Canada at international tournaments.
She led Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and a seventh-place finish at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Nurse also won two NCAA titles with UConn, where she was also American Athletic Conference (AAC) Freshman of the year in 2015.
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