A big third quarter, and surviving a late scare gave Canada gold at the 2017 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup with a 67-65 win over host nation Argentina on Sunday night.
The victory is Canada’s third title in the biennial tournament previously called the FIBA Americas Championship, and marks a successful defence of its championship won two years ago in Edmonton.
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Playing in Buenos Aires, Argentina thrilled home fans by jumping out to an early 8-0 lead. Canada closed the gap but went into halftime down 34-27 against the South Americans.
Canada came out of halftime to better its entire first half output by pouring 29 points against the hosts to lead 56-47 heading into the final quarter.
Refusing to quit, Argentina went on a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a 65-64 lead before Kia Nurse stopped the run with a bucket putting Canada back up by one. Nirra Fields hit a late free throw to give Canada the two-point victory.
With just over a minute to go, emotions reached new heights in an already dramatic game, when Argentina’s Debora Gonzalez suffered a bad fall and had to be escorted off the court injured. Visibly disturbed by Gonzalez’ painful exit, Argentina missed several shots inside the final minute despite dominating possession.
Nurse led Canada in scoring with 12 points, while Katherine Plouffe grabbed 11 boards, and Miah-Marie Langlois and Fields were the team’s top helpers with four assists each.
Fields was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Prior to winning two consecutive regional titles (last one in Edmonton), Canada won this championship for the first time in 1995 when the tournament was held in Hamilton, Ontario.
Both Canada and Argentina booked spots in the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup by making to the AmeriCup gold medal game. Bronze medal winner Puerto Rico will also get a spot in the World Cup.