It took less than five minutes for Canada’s women’s basketball team to turn Friday’s World Cup game against France into a riot.
The Canadian’s 17-0 run across the second and third quarters surprised even coach Victor Lapena.
“17? I didn’t know,” Lapena frowned at the post-match press conference.
Nira Fields scored 17 points, Kayla Alexander had a game-high 14 rebounds and nine points, and the Canadians (2-0) beat France 59-45 to remain the only undefeated team in Group B. did.
Shay Collie added 11 points to the Canadians and never took a 20-point lead.
“Today we played really good team basketball, especially on the defensive end where we were really focused on the game plan that the coach wanted us to have,” said Alexander.
Gaby Williams leads France with 13 points.
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Canada’s win came two days after a 67-60 win over Serbia and nearly qualified for the quarterfinals as the top four teams in each group progressed. A high finish in the qualifying rounds and a large points gap will be key to avoiding the American in the knockout rounds.
Meanwhile, sixth-placed France upset third-placed Australia 67-59, but it was a far cry from the team that won against an overwhelmed Canadian defense.
“I like to switch defenses because I can usually get them off the track and throw them out of their rhythm. Throw something else in there,” said Alexander.
“So I really like to mix it up and throw something different at my opponent and try to get them back on their feet a little bit.”
It was the second solid game for the 31-year-old Alexander, who became Canada’s top scorer with 13 goals against Serbia. Her hustle on the board on Friday saw Canada outscore France with her 56-38.
“I know I’m not a very vocal person. I’m a quiet leader,” Alexander said.
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“I try to lead by example, but knowing that you have coaches and teammates who trust and believe in you means a lot.
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Phoenix Mercury’s Kia Nurse, who continues his comeback from an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee nearly a year ago, scored seven points, including five in the first five minutes.
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Lapena, who was hired in January after Canada failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, was thrilled with the team’s defensive efforts, but hopes the offense will improve.
“As a coach, I want to give them the tools to score at least 10 more points,” said the Spaniard. “There are players with points.
“I have to think, research the possibility of giving them the tools…to enjoy attacking more.”
Canada shot only 29% on field goals and 30% on three-point shots. His shooting percentage for France was 37% but only 3 of 19 (16%).
Both teams struggled to score in an ugly first quarter that saw the Canadians start the second quarter with a 6-point lead at first and a 15-9 lead.
The Canadians found an attacking groove in the second half and finished with a 9–0 run in the final 1:45 interrupted by a three-pointer from Bridget Carlton. Fields’ driving layup with 15 seconds remaining sent Canada into the halftime break with a 29–17 lead.
The Canadians started the second half with an 8-0 run, capped off with a three-pointer from Corry that saw Canada lead by 20 points. France closed the gap to 13 points late in the third quarter, but Fields’ driving his layup put Canada ahead to her 45–30 with one quarter to go.
The French chased back to within 11 points late in the fourth quarter, but it was as close as they came.
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Canada will face reigning Olympic silver medalists Japan (1-1) on Sunday. Asked what the key to beating the Japanese was, Lapena said he and his staff would meet to brainstorm defensive strategies.
“The players will be very tired the next day… let’s make it easier for them. ‘ said Coach.
Japan beat Mali 89-56 in their opening match before losing to Serbia 69-64.
Canada will face Australia on Monday and Mali on Tuesday to round out the qualifying rounds.
© 2022 Canadian Press
Canada remains undefeated with 59-45 win over France in FIBA Women’s World Cup
Source link Canada remains undefeated with 59-45 win over France in FIBA Women’s World Cup