What a month for Canadian Basketball! Exactly three weeks after the U19 Men’s National Team won gold, the Canadian women make some history of their own.
The U19 Women’s National Team wins their first-ever medal at the U19 Championship as they defeat Japan 67-60 in the bronze medal game at the U19 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup. Canada picked themselves up after a Semi-Final loss to Russia and make a statement that Canada Basketball is here.
Laeticia Amihere has been playing three years above her age group, but her game tells a different story. Amihere earned her second double-double of the tournament by scoring a game high 13 points and hauling in ten boards.
Hailey Brown from Hamilton, ON has also been one of Canada’s stars and she continued her top play against Japan, finishing with 12 points and five rebounds.
Canada found themselves down for most of the first quarter but in the last three minutes they found an extra motor.
The bank was open on Sunday for Brown as she got Canada rolling with an elbow jumper off glass.
Canada came back to take a one point lead but Hanna Hall wanted to give her team a bigger lead before the break. The Hamilton, ON native carried the ball up the court, found an opening and drilled a three just as time expired. Hall’s three gave Canada a 14-11 lead after one.
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 30, 2017
The U19 girls controlled the paint in the second quarter and were able to do most of their offensive work down low.
Amihere only missed one shot in the first half and showed her complete offensive game. She was able to knock down mid-range jumpers and use her athletic ability to score in bunches inside.
Canada ended the half the same way they ended the first quarter. With Amihere being triple-teamed in the paint, she passed to Brown who found an open Alyssa Jerome. Jerome got her three off the glass to drop at the buzzer to give Canada a 33-27 lead at half. Apparently the banks are always open on Sundays in Italy.
The third quarter saw Japan work hard to win the quarter and keep the game within reach.
However, just as Japan thought it would be a one possession game going into the fourth, Canada hit a THIRD buzzer beater. This time it was Kendra Van Leeuwen. With no other options, Van Leeuwen had to take a step back three and the Brantford, ON native drilled it with a Japanese hand in her face.
Tight game, ⏰, step back, no problem for @kvanlee_10 😱
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 30, 2017
Canada’s sniper, Aislinn Konig had a quiet first half but it doesn’t take much for her to heat up. The NC State guard scored a tough mid-range jumper with the shot clock expiring and on the next possession she got to her spot beyond the arc and made a three. Konig gave Canada a 59-51 lead.
With just over two minutes to play, Canada held a six point lead and the bronze medalists didn’t look back. Hall iced the game at the line and put this team in history.
16-year-old Amihere was named to the U19 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup All-Star Five.
After businesslike celebrations after major accomplishments at the tournament, the girls finally got to celebrate a huge moment. One that will be in Canadian Basketball history.
In Jason Thom’s preview of the World Cup, the girls spoke about winning gold and matching what the men did as their goal. They didn’t win the gold but the team showed tremendous grit and determination throughout the tournament and showed the world Canadian pride and how they became a family to win bronze.
Laeticia Amihere: 13 points | 10 rebounds | 2 assists | 1 block
Hailey Brown: 12 points | 5 rebounds | 2 assists
Hanna Hall: 10 points | 4 assists | 3 rebounds
Kendra Van Leeuwen: 8 points | 5 rebounds | 4 assists | 1 steal
Aislinn Konig: 8 points | 2 rebounds | 2 assists
Alyssa Jerome: 8 rebounds | 6 points | 3 blocks | 2 steals | 1 assist