Photo: FIBA
Photo: FIBA

Canada books spot in quarterfinals at FIBA World Cup with win over Japan

The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team remains undefeated and locked up a quarterfinal spot with an impressive 70-56 win over the Olympic silver medallists, Japan.

The Canadians collected their third Group B win in a row with a real statement of intent against Japan.

Canada was led by a 19-point, six-rebound performance from Bridget Carleton. Shay Colley also had a strong game, earning 13 points and seven rebounds.

“That was a big game for us,” Carleton said. “Obviously we played Japan in February, we were up by a lot and they ended up forcing it to overtime and we ended up losing. That was kind of on the back of our minds today but, again, it felt good to win. That’s a tough team, they’re hard to play against, they’re fast, they like to shoot the three-ball so it’s a tough matchup, [so it’s] definitely good to come away with the win. And it felt good to see some shots go in for me.”

Carleton shot 8-for-14 from the floor, including 2-for-5 from beyond the arc while adding six rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 32 minutes of action. The team went scoreless until the 6:04 mark, when Carleton scored Canada’s first five game points.

Canada shot 45 per cent in the half while their defence helped hold Japan to just 29 per cent shooting, while also forcing 10 turnovers. Kayla Alexander opened the second half with a layup to extend Canada’s lead to 18.  After a jumper from Colley, Canada led by 20 and continued to score, closing the quarter on a 9-0 run.

After Japan opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to get within 15, Canada called a timeout with 7:48 remaining. For the third consecutive game, the Canadians appeared relaxed and in control when their opponent attempted a push. Despite Japan’s strong start to the final quarter, Canada’s lead was never in doubt in the final frame.

Canada has two more games remaining in the group phase, with the next match up coming on Monday at 6:30 a.m. ET against host-team Australia. The Canadians are looking forward to playing in front of a packed crowd of passionate fans rooting for the home team. They are determined to not allow that to impact their game plan.

Match 2: Sept. 23 – Canada 59 – 45 France

The matchup looked to be relatively even on paper with France ranked 6th in the FIBA standings, while Canada entered the tournament ranked 4th.

The result was not so even as Canada stymied France’s offense and opened up a 20-point lead by the 3rd quarter. Nirra Fields led the way offensively with 17 points; getting her buckets off of smooth finishes at the rim and behind the three point line.

Kayla Alexander had another strong game as she collected 14 rebounds, and added 9 points.

Canada only shot 29.4% from the field but dominated on the boards and made it to the free throw line 12 more times than France.

With the win, Canada is now the only unbeaten team in Group B. They have three games remaining in pool play, with the next game coming on Sunday against Japan.

Match 1: Sept. 22 – Canada 67 – 60 Serbia

Canada’s women’s basketball team opened up the FIBA World Cup with a statement victory over a tough Serbian squad by a final score of 67-60.

After falling behind 16-15 after one quarter of play, Canada dominated the second quarter of play and never gave up their lead. They weathered a late run by Serbia to hang on for a seven point win.

Kayla Alexander was the high-scorer collecting 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Nirra Fields and Natalie Achonwa also finished in double figure with 12 and 10 points respectively. 

Kia Nurse made her return to the lineup after being sidelined for 11 months while recovering from a knee injury. She didn’t miss a beat – scoring nine points and adding 3 assists.

The preliminary phase of the FIBA ​​Women’s Basketball World Cup will continue until September 27. In Group B, in addition to Serbia, Canada will face France, Japan, Mali and the host country Australia. The quarter-finals will begin on September 29 and the final will take place on October 1. The champion of the tournament will automatically qualify for Paris 2024.

READ: HOW TEAM CANADA CAN QUALIFY FOR PARIS 2024: PART 1

Canada, ranked 4th in the world in the FIBA Standings, is the highest ranked team in Group B. They will take on 6th-ranked France on Friday.