PUERTO MONTT, CHILE – Canada’s Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) used a game-high 19 points from Michelle Plouffe (Edmonton, AB) to bounce back after suffering their first loss by defeating Japan, 77-71 at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
The JWNT will now play for fifth place, and win or lose, Head Coach Rich Chambers is proud of what his team has accomplished.
“We have beaten the FIBA Europe champions (Italy), the FIBA Asia champions (Japan) and the FIBA Americas (USA) champions this week. We’re proud to play for fifth or sixth,” said Chambers.
As a team, the JWNT shot 41% (30-73) from the field with four players scoring in double figures. Nirra Fields (Lachine, QC) had 14 points; while Katherine Plouffe (Edmonton, AB) added 13. Wumi Agunbiade (Pickering, ON) rounded out the offensive leaders with 11.
Canada dominated Japan on the glass, by out-rebounding their opponents 43-24, which included 25 offensive rebounds. Michelle Plouffe and Korissa Williams (Windsor, ON) led the way for the JWNT, grabbing eight rebounds each, including six rebounds on the offensive glass from Williams. Katherine Plouffe and Fields continued their solid play defensively by recording seven rebounds each.
After a sluggish start to yesterday’s game, the JWNT came out of the gate on fire against Japan, scoring 27 points in the opening quarter. The scoring continued into the second quarter as the JWNT closed out the first half on a 7-0 scoring run to lead 47-28. Michelle Plouffe carried the load offensively in the first half scoring 13 points, while sister, Katherine had 10.
In the second half, Canada continued to keep Japan at bay, increasing their lead to as much as 24 points nearing the end of the third quarter. However, to start the final frame, Japan went on a 10-2 run to climb back into the game. Throughout the quarter, they continued to chip away at the Canadian advantage, but the JWNT had built up a sizeable enough lead to endure Japan out-scoring Canada 32-16 in the quarter.
“We played very good for three quarters, and weathered the storm in the fourth,” said Chambers. “At halftime Japan hadn’t hit a three-pointer. Then #13 (Shiori Takada) hit four in a row. Some of them were NBA three-pointers.”
The win marked the second time in the tournament that Canada has defeated Japan, the first coming in the Eighth Final Round, when Canada won 68-60.
Canada will now play the winner of France and Russia in the fifth place game on Sunday, July 31 at a time still to be determined. The game can be followed via FIBA Live Stats at www.chile2011.fiba.com, while the finals can be seen live at www.FIBATV.com. Game summary and box score will be posted at www.basketball.ca.