Canada With Huge Victory Over France To Capture Fifth at World Championships!
PUERTO MONTT, CHILE – Nirra Fields (Lachine, Que.) scored a game-high 18 points and came up with five steals to lead the Canadaian Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) to a fifth-place finish at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women after defeating France 70-52.
Michelle Plouffe (Edmonton, Alb.) scored 14 points for Canada and Korissa Williams (Amhertsburg, Ont.) poured in 11.
For France, Adja Konteh led her team with 14 points while Clarince Djaldi-Tabdi recored a double-double, recording 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Despite losing to Spain in the quarterfinals and missing out on a chance to compete for a medal, JWNT head coach Rich Chambers was proud of the way Canada recovered to finish fifth.
“A Canadian team has never won eight games at a world championship,” he said. “Though it was disappointing to lose to Spain, on that day they were the better team.”
Plouffe also commented on the heartbreak.
“We’re proud of how we came out to play today,” Plouffe said after the game. “We’ve played great basketball through the tournament and we came together to battle through these last two games.
“We’ve played the best teams in the world and played our best basketball and [even though] it was extremely disappointing to lose the quarterfinal game we finished strong and we’re proud of that.”
Williams also felt strongly about the performance of her team and the impressive level of competition she faced everyday in the tournament.
“[International basketball] is nothing like I expected, it’s very challenging,” Williams said. “I love my team. We’ve only been together less than a month but we have so much chemistry.”
Canada played exceptionally well throughout the entire tournament, winning a record eight games in the tournament and only losing once. A big part of the team’s strong play has been because of the stalwart defence it always played and this game was no difference.
The Canadians managed to force France to commit 22 turnovers on a combined 17 steals, highlighted by Fields’ 5. This limited the French women to 10 fewer field goals and also put Canada on the line 24 times, figures that proved to be the difference in the contest.
Even though the score was lopsided, Chambers had nothing but respect for his French opponents.
“We have admired France’s program for many years,” Chambers said. “They play a great brand of basketball and we try to emulate that, therefore I would like to congratulate France for their great tournament.”