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France hands Canada tough opening lose at the 2014 FIBA World Championships

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France Stephon-Gombauld

Canada’s U17 Cadet Men’s basketball team came short with a tough 76-66 loss to Team France to kick off the 2014 FIBA World Championships for Men in Dubai.

The next generation of Canadian basketball players took to the court against an athletic Team France which jumped out to a 6-0 start on back-to-back dunks to open the game. Canada quickly regrouped by ripping off 17-2 run and 25-15 lead after the first-quarter of play. Canada forced 6 french turnovers and shot 7/12 (58%) in the first 10 minutes. Marquell Fraser and Eddie Ekiyor paced Canada with eight and six points respectively.

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France turned up the pressure defensively and slowed down the tempo of the game by getting the ball inside, earning foul shots to cut Canada’s double-digit lead to 32-26 at the half-way point of the second-quarter but Canada’s Ekiyor (11 points first-half) continued to inside and Daniel Cummings (10-points) finished the first-quarter strong as Canada extended the lead to 42-30 at half-time.

Canada finished the first-half shooting 13/25 (52%) from the field while France shot 10/16 (62%) both teams struggled to find their touch from the outside with Canada connecting on only 2-of-8 tries (25%) and France 1-of-10 (10%). Team Canada also left plenty of points off the scoreboard by going a miserable 10/21 (47%) at the foul-line. Stephon Gombauld paced France with 11 points at half.

Team France continued to assert themselves inside and executed their half-court sets by dumping the ball down low to Goumbald who took over by scoring 10 points in the third-quarter. Canada was held to just 12 points in the quarter and late scoop lay-up inside by Kalif Young gave the Canadians a slim 54-52 lead as both teams headed to the fourth quarter.  France outscored Canada 22-12.

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The Goubauld show continued in the fourth-quarter as the young NBA prospect added another eight points to finish with a game high 28 points and 20 rebounds on 13/19 shooting. France found their shooting touch from the outside to hold the Canadians at bay taking a double digit (10) victory and dropping Canada to 0-1.

Ottawa’s Eddie Ekiyor topped with 14 points and 7 rebounds in the loss. Daniel Cummings provide instant offensive with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting off the bench, Marquell Fraser finished with 10 points and Howard Washington Jr showed his shooting touch by going 3-of-6 from behind the arc for 9 points and 4 rebounds.

Team France out scored Canada 44-24 in the second-half and out-rebounded Canada 44-35 leading to 38 points in the paint.

Canada (0-1) will look to rebound next game when it takes on Japan (0-1) who also dropped their opener to Australia 97-84 in group B action

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FIBA

Canada draws Group of Death 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup

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Cory Joseph Canada Basketball Draws Group Of Death 2019 Fiba 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.

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Groups

2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Groups

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.

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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.

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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

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FIBA

Kia Nurse wins Australian pro championship

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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.

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“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.

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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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