Led by Kia Nurse, Canada erased an 18-point second half deficit to beat Serbia 71-67 on Monday in Olympic women’s basketball.
Canada trailed the game 40-32 at halftime and 52-34 at one point in the third quarter. It wasn’t until the fourth that Canada’s offence started to heat up, outscoring Serbia 26-10 en route to victory.
Nurse led Canada with 25 points, hitting 7/11 field goal attempts – including 3/4 from three-point range. The 20-year-old, who is playing in her first Olympic Games, is no stranger to success on the big stage, shining at last year’s Pan Am Games and FIBA Americas.
Canada’s offence had its difficulties on Monday against a strong Serbian defence. Nurse was the only Canadian to reach double digits, although Kim Gaucher, Miranda Ayim and Nirra Fields each had eight points.
Canada grabbed a 6-0 advantage 90 seconds into Monday’s game and continued to lead for much of the first quarter. With 2:02 remaining, Serbia’s Ana Dabovic hit a layup to tie the game at 15-15. On the ensuing rush, Nurse hit a three to put Canada back in front and hit another with 11 seconds remaining. The quarter ended at 21-21.
Serbia carried the momentum they gained in the final few minutes of the first quarter into the second, taking a seven point lead 3:37 in. Canada struggled to get its offence going consistently and trailed 40-32 at the half.
Canada’s scoring woes continued into the third quarter and fell behind 52-34. Nurse, who got Canada’s first basket of the quarter 4:08 in, led the team on an 11-0 run to cut Serbia’s lead to 52-45 with 1:05 left. The Serbians got a couple of late baskets to lead 57-45 after three.
RELATED: Learn Brazilian basketball terms
Canada opened the fourth on another 11-0 run, getting to within a point of Serbia with 5:28 to play. At 4:46, a Fields three-pointer tied the match at 59-59 and then, two-minutes later, Gaucher nailed a three to give the Canadians a 63-61 lead.
With 1:11 to go, Dabovic gave the Serbians a 67-65 lead only to have Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe hit a jump shot and drain a free throw to put Canada ahead by one with 48 seconds remaining. Miah-Marie Langlois secured the victory, hitting a three with eight seconds remaining.