(Edmonton, AB) – The Women’s National Team put on a terrific show for the hometown crowd and toppled their toughest opponent to date by defeating Cuba 92-43 and remaining undefeated (4-0) in 2015 FIBA America’s Championship action in Edmonton, Alberta.
Canada jumped out to a terrific start with Miranda Ayim (London, ON) scoring two lightning quick buckets in transition and helping Canada jump to an early lead. The Cubans found their rhythm however, and were able to quiet the Canadian storm, albeit temporarily, as the Canucks pushed their way to a 21-13 lead after Quarter 1.
The beginning of quarter 2 was somewhat chaotic as both squads demonstrated an up-tempo style of play, however, each struggled to find great offensive traction. Eventually Canada found their stroke and proceeded to go on a 13-2 run up until the 2:40 mark of the frame. Cuba did a great job chasing Canada off the three point line, holding the red and white without a three point basket by halftime for the first time in the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship (0-4 3FG). Canada continued to find ways to score however, outscoring Cuba 21-6 in the quarter, taking a 42-19 lead into half.
Miranda Ayim (London, ON) got the Canadians rolling again in Quarter 3 with a quick bucket 0:20 into the frame. She certainly set the tone for the Canucks in this contest with her active hands and slashers’ mentality. Kia Nurse (Hamilton, ON) finally broke Canada out of their three-point slump, burying their first three-ball of the contest at the 8:21 mark of quarter 3. Thanks to Canada’s tenacity, ball movement, movement without the ball and newly found three point stroke, they elevated their lead, 63-30, over Cuba heading into the fourth.
The final quarter was a much more balanced effort, as Cuba did what they could to demonstrate some semblance of a 3-0 team, up to and including switching to a zone defense in an attempt to disrupt the Canadian freight train offence. It was far too little far too late for Cuba however, as Canada was able to go on cruise control for the remainder and coast to a 92-43 victory. Canada demonstrated once again why they are widely recognized as one of the deepest teams at FIBA Americas, as every single Canadian player registered points on the scoresheet for the third time in the tournament.
Canada had five players in double figures and were led by Kia Nurse’s (Hamilton, ON) 14 points (4-10 FG), 3 assists, 2 rebounds & 2 steals. Miranda Ayim (London, ON) added 12 points (6-10 FG), 7 rebounds & 2 steals. Natalie Achonwa (Guelph, ON) chipped in with 12 points (5-9 FG) & 3 rebounds of her own. Cuba was led by Anisleidy Galindo’s 12 points (5-13 FG) & 6 rebounds. On the game as a whole, Canada shot 55% (36-66 FG) & 27% from three (3-11 3FG). Cuba shot 26% (17-66 FG) & 18% from deep (2-11 3FG). For full box score, click here. For details on the tournament, go to www.fibaamericas.com/can2015/en
Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis summed up her team’s performance in her post-game comments:
“We were pretty happy with how things went today. We executed some things well early on and were able to use our speed to our advantage, get out in transition and got some easy ones early and just made it tough for Cuba to get great looks”.
“It was a big point of emphasis heading into this game that we needed to be very sharp defensively. Cuba has a lot of weapons and a lot of speed on the perimeter. We talked a lot about that and what our tactics would be and I thought we did a good job of executing those and took away some of their strengths.”
Canada’s next test comes on August 15th 2015 as they get set to face the loser of Brazil vs Argentina in semifinal action at the FIBA Americas Championship. Tip-off time TBD. Fans can watch the game live on TSN and TSNGO.
For a full roster and coaching staff, click here.
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