NEVIA, Colombia – On Saturday night, a strong performance by the Senior Women’s National Team landed them a bronze medal as they defeated Cuba by a score of 59-46. Canada will now move on to the World Olympic Qualifier in June for a chance to secure a position in the 2012 Olympics.
“I’m extremely proud of our effort tonight to win the bronze medal,” said head coach Allison McNeill. “After the disappointment of last night’s loss to Argentina, our players showed incredible character and mental toughness to come back and play a great game against Cuba.”
“I thought our defence was outstanding and we got contributions from everyone that played. I’m very proud of our team tonight and so happy for them to get a medal and also for the journey ahead to get ready for the World Olympic Qualifier next summer.”
Canada got out to an early lead and never looked back, playing together with a balanced attack offensively and on the boards.
Teresa Gabriele (Mission, BC) provided the spark to start the game, leading all scorers with seven points in the first quarter.
In the second frame Canada continued to play strong defence, limiting Cuba’s offensive chances in the opening minutes of the quarter. Cuba battled hard and were able to go on a five point run to end the first half but Canada entered half-time leading 24-19.
“I’m proud of the way that we battled back tonight, third place is a huge accomplishment and we are very happy with a bronze medal,” said Kim Smith (Mission, BC).
“We showed a lot of adversary at heart after being pretty disappointed and coming off very few hours of sleep. But in true Canadian basketball fashion we fought hard right to the end and we’re coming home with a bronze medal.”
In the second half, Canada continued to pound the glass, battling for loose balls and limiting Cuba’s chances for offensive rebounds.
Chelsea Aubry (Kitchener, ON) lead the team with seven rebounds, while Smith and Tamara Tatham (Brampton, ON) contributed six each.
In the final frame Canada continued their balanced attack and closed the game out strong, going on a four point scoring run in the final minute.
Gabriele and Smith each posted 13 points, followed by Krista Phillips (Saskatoon, SK) with eight and Miranda Ayim (London, ON) with seven.
Canada’s balanced effort on the glass paid off as they out-rebounded Cuba 43-24.
You can watch the consolation final at 11:30 am (EST) Sunday, October 2nd on TSN2.