Ankara, Turkey – Canada’s Senior Women National Team (SWNT) behind a complete team effort knocked-off fifth ranked Czech Republic 91-71 to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Woman behind held in Turkey.
Paced by the leadership of National team veteran and team captain Kim Gaucher (Mission, B.C) as well as the fresh and energetic legs and skill-set of Nirra Fields (Montreal, Quebec) the Canadians took control of the game in the late stages of the first-quarter and never looked back, cruising to a 20-point victory and setting up a quarter-final tilt against tough undefeated Australia (3-0) team.
Both teams opened the game focused and shooting a high percentage, with Canada leading 15-13 the Czech’s Republic Petra Kulichova was whistled for a foul on Katherine Plouffe and was assessed a technical foul in the process for arguing with the referee. Plouffe knocked 3-of-4 free-throws and scooped-up an offensive rebound for a layup and Gaucher drilled a jumper with 37 seconds left to finish the quarter on 7-0 run and 22-13 lead after the first-quarter.
The Czech Republic trimmed the lead to 24-21 by taking advantage of their superior height with 8-2 a run to open the second-quarter, from there it was All-Canada as the crisp ball movement and unselfish play led to a 44-32 lead at half-time. Canada maintained a comfortable 10-point cushion for most of the second-half to reach the Final 8 of the World Championships.
Gaucher found her shooting touch after a touch outing against France and finished with a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds on 6-0f-10 shooting. Fields came off the bench and contributed with 15 points and six rebounds. Katherine Plouffe continued here outstanding tournament with another solid effort with 13 points and four rebounds and Kia Nurse wrapped the double-digit scores for the Canadians with 12 points and 2 assists.
Canada shot the ball extremely well finishing a healthy 34/63 (54%) from the floor, the Czech Republic connected on 36/57 (45.6%) of their shots. Canada shot a tournament best 22 free-throws, knocking down 19 of them, further emphasizing head coach Lisa Thomaidis committed to attack the rim rather than settle for long jump shots like they did in the group phase of the tournament.
Canada (2-3) will now take Australia (3-0) in the quarter-finals for chance to reach their first-ever semi-finals of a FIBA World Championship. Australia has won the past three-meetings against Canada dating back to 1994, 72-47 (2010), 97-65 (2006) and 90-72 in 1994.
Canada knocks off Sweden qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Canada’s women’s national basketball team is headed for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Team Canada picked-up it’s second victory of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, defeating Team Sweden 80-50 to earn their third straight trip to the summer games.
Natalie Achonwa nearly perfect 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists performance anchored a dominate Canadian offensive attack that featured four players in double-figures. The Indiana Fever power forward knocked-down 8-of-9 field goals in just 17 minutes.
Shaina Pellington was outstanding with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists. Kia Nurse, Canada’s other WNBA player finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and Miranda Ayim added with 10 points and 3 rebounds.
All players contributed to win — logging at least five minutes and recording a stat on the scoresheet. 18 year old Laeticia Amihere made her official senior team debut — scoring 8 quick points in games’ final 8 minutes.
The victory will send Canada to their six (7) Olympic games. Team Canada also qualified in 1976, 1984 1996, 2000, 2012, 2016 — earning a country best fourth-place finish at the 1984 Olympiad in Los Angeles, California.
Canada becomes the sixth (6) team to qualify for the games — eight (8) gold medalist, United States, China, France, Nigeria and tournament hosts Japan have also earned there spot. Six more teams will make-up the 12-team showcase. The 2020 games will run from July 24 – August 09.
Canada beats Belgium now one win away from Tokyo 2020
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.
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.
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.