Canada Takes Down Jamaica, book a spot in Olympic Qualifier!
PHOTO COURTESY: FIBA
NEVIA, Colombia – Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team concluded preliminary play at the FIBA Americas Championship for Women with a 66-49 victory over Jamaica (1-3). With the win, Canada (3-1) will head to the semi-finals to play either Cuba or Argentina. The win also qualifies Canada for a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in June.
“I’m really happy with our team’s performance tonight,” said head coach Allison McNeill. “We talked about dominating the boards and using our depth to tire Jamaica out, and I think we did that. Our goal was to get to the semi-finals and we’re exactly where we want to be. We’re going to play our hearts out in these next games and see where it takes us, but we’re going to give it our best effort.”
Offensively, Canada shot 41 percent from the field, led by 13 points from Kim Smith (Mission, BC). Miranda Ayim (London, ON) had her best game in the tournament thus far with 11 points; while Kalisha Keane (Ajax, ON) and Krista Phillips (Saskatoon, SK) continued their solid play with nine and eight points respectively.
The game was won on the defensive end, where Canada held Jamaica to 28 percent shooting and out-rebounded their opponents 50-24. Teresa Gabriele (Mission, BC) had a team-high seven rebounds; while Chelsea Aubry (Kitchener, ON), Phillips and Ayim recorded six each.
The game got off to a slow start with both teams trying to find their offense in the early going. Gabriele gave Canada their biggest lead at 13-9 with a three-pointer with three minutes remaining. However, Jamaica was solid from the free throw line, which allowed them to stay within two points after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, both teams started to find their offense, led by Keane and Smith, who led Canada to a 7-2 scoring run midway through the quarter to push the lead to eight. Jamaica went on a run of their own, but just as time expired before halftime, Ayim finished off a no-look pass from Shona Thorburn (Hamilton, ON) to give Canada a 33-25 lead.
To start the third quarter, Canada pushed their lead to double-digits with back-to-back lay-ups by Gabriele and Phillips. The lead continued to grow halfway through the quarter with an 8-0 scoring run led by Ayim. The run propelled Canada to take a sizeable 50-34 lead heading into the fourth.
In the final frame, Canada maintained their lead and cruised to victory.
“We’re incredibly excited,” said Smith. “Coming into the summer, we had a goal of reaching the semi-finals and giving ourselves a chance to go to London. We’re going to enjoy tonight and then get ready for the semis.”
Canada’s win over Jamaica can be seen on TSN2 tonight at 10:30 pm ET (7:30 pm PT).
Canada will now move onto the semi-finals, where they will play either Cuba or Argentina on Friday, September 30 at 6:00 pm local time (7:00 pm ET).