Team Canada finished their FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament with a win over Bosnia & Herzegovina early Saturday morning in Osaka, Japan. They finished with a 1-1 record after Belarus withdrew from competition.
Team Canada got off to a hot start in the first quarter and never looked back. They led by 11 after the first quarter and maintained their lead throughout the quarters to earn a 32 point win. Bridget Carleton finished the game with 28 points on 11/12 shots and only missed one three for the entire game. Team Canada shot 60% from the field and 68.3% from three on the game while holding Bosnia & Herzegovina to just 39.7% from the field and 43.2% from three.
Team Canada finished with a win to improve their record to 1-1 while Bosnia & Herzegovina fell to 0-1. Bosnia & Herzegovina still have a final game to play and that is against the hosts of the tournament, Team Japan. They will face them early Sunday morning. Japan is coming off an overtime win over Team Canada two days ago and will look to finish the tournament with a perfect record.
This game was a perfect response from Team Canada. After the disappointing overtime loss to Japan in which Canada led by 20 points, Canada took control of this game and never looked back. They defended Jonquel Jones well after Jones scored some early baskets in the game. They double-teamed her and at one point, they triple-teamed her. Bosnia & Herzegovina started to look for her less and less often throughout the game, which served Canada’s purpose.
While the leading scorer of this game belongs to Bridget Carleton, Natalie Achonwa was the game’s MVP. She was able to get to the basket, score some timely buckets, assist to other players and helped her fellow center, Kayla Alexander out. It was a great performance from the long-time Canadian Senior Women’s National Team member. She finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for the game. Kayla Alexander also finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. It was a post clinic.
Final thoughts from this game are that Canada responded after a tough overtime loss. They defended well and showed why they are the fourth ranked country in the world. Moving forward, I hope to see this trend continue and that Team Canada can compete in the FIBA World Cup in September against the best teams in the world.
This game was also Victor Lapena’s first victory as the Canadian head coach. He was able to get the most out of his players in this game and prepared them well to defend. This was a nice victory under his belt.