Written by Jas Grewal
(Toronto, On) Another day and another win for the hometown ladies as Canada prevails against a resilient Argentina club with the 73-58 victory to maintain their dominance in the Group B pool.
The win also assures the Canadians a spot in the semifinals on Sunday, regardless of the result in their matchup against Cuba on Saturday.
Defense was the difference in this one as the home side forced Argentina to shoot just 33% (21/63) from the field, including 2/17 from the three-point line.
Unlike their previous blowout win over Venezuela where both Kia Nurse and Lizanne Murphy led the charge in the scoring column, this contest saw Miah-Marie Langlois and Miranda Ayim lead the way as both players combined for 23 points, including an efficient 8 of 12 from the field. The always-active Tamara Tatham chipped in with 12 points of her own to go along with four steals.
“Argentina, they really play fast, they play chaotic, they try to get you out of your own groove and they do it well, “ said Nurse who finished with seven points on the night in 27 minutes of action.
“And that’s something that we kind of expect [a grind] from Argentina every single time we play them, so it’s something we had to focus on going into the game.”
Unlike last game, this contest was much closer than the final scoreboard showed. Argentina – despite being severely undersized (they were out rebounded 49-27) – endured the early plight of Canada’s suffocating defense only to forge a comeback to tie the game late in the third.
“I don’t think it was a scare, we knew that they were going to come out ready to play,” said Ayim after the game when asked if Argentina gave the Canadians a bit of a panic attack in the final stretches of the game.
“They play tough, they play until they end, so we knew this game was going to be tight. “
Despite the periodical runs Argentina seemingly went on throughout the game, Canada’s commitment to team defense made certain things wouldn’t go awry.
Team Canada Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis alluded to the determination of her club, making certain that any lulls on offence did not compromise their defensive principles.
“ I think [defense] that’s kind of what we built this program on for so long and we have a lot of proud veterans who make sure that’s their mainstay,” said coach.
“Offensively we had a real tough time knocking down perimeter shots, especially early in the game. We made a concerted effort in the second half to make sure we were getting the ball on the side, and that we were attacking and initiating contact, whereas in the first half we didn’t think we did nearly as a good job against that kind of brutality.”
Game notes: Indiana Fever’s Natalie Achonwa was on a minute restriction as Coach Thomaidis slowly eases the 6’4” center back into the rotation. The Guelph, Ont., native tore her ACL last year in an NCAA Tournament Elite Eight game while playing for Notre Dame, forcing her to miss the 2014 WNBA season.
Written by Jas Grewal
Photos courtesy of Reel Motion Imaging
Edited by Drew Ebanks