Nirra Fields Powers Canada Passed China
(PUERTO MONTT, CHILE) – The Canadian Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) got off to a quick start at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship in Chile, beating China 76-49 in the opening game of the tournament.
“It was a great job by the whole team – especially on the boards,” said Head Coach Rich Chambers. “We carried out the game plan to perfection. I told the team we can’t get too high or too low. It has been a nine-day journey for us.”
Four members of the JWNT scored in double-figures, with Nirra Fields (Lachine, QC) leading the Canadian attack with a game-high 22 points. Diana Lee (North Vancouver, B.C.) added 13; while Michelle Plouffe (Edmonton, AB) recorded 12 and Katherine Plouffe (Edmonton, AB) had 11.
Defensively, Canada held China to 35% shooting (18-52) and stole the ball 17 times; while forcing 22 turnovers.
The JWNT used a 47-29 rebounding advantage to control possession over their opponents, which helped them take 24 more shots in the game. Fields grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds, while the Plouffe twins and Wumi Agunbiade (Pickering, ON) recorded 7 rebounds each.
One of the defensive leaders was Korissa Williams (Windsor, ON), who had two steals and also made her National Team debut against China.
“We played very well as a team and are developing more chemistry,” said Williams, who scored 7 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. “Our coaches did a good job scouting and we just had to execute the plan.”
The JWNT started the game on fire, led by Fields who scored 9 points in the first quarter, helping Canada to a comfortable 23-6 lead. The Canadians took a 41-18 lead at halftime, thanks to the three-point shooting of Lee, who hit 3 in the half.
China played the second half more competitively, but they could not contain Michelle Plouffe, who scored ten points in the third quarter, after scoring just 2 in the first half. China would out-score Canada 14-11 in the fourth quarter, but the JWNT still held on to the victory.
With the win, Canada moves to 1-0 and into first place in Group A. The JWNT will play Egypt tomorrow at 6:00 pm local time (6:00 pm ET). The game can be followed via FIBA Live Stats at www.chile2011.fiba.com. Game summary and box score will be posted at www.basketball.ca.