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Alexander scores 13, Canada opens FIBA Girls’s World Cup with win over Serbia

Kayla Alexander scored 13 factors and Kia Nurse completed with 9 in her first sport in virtually a yr, and Canada’s ladies’s basketball crew opened the FIBA World Cup with a 67-60 victory over Serbia on Thursday.

Nirra Fields completed with 12 factors, whereas Natalie Achonwa had 10 factors and eight rebounds for the fourth-ranked Canadians.

Yvonne Anderson led No. 10 Serbia with 18 factors.

Nurse’s night time was a vibrant spot for the Canadians. The Phoenix Mercury guard confirmed little rust in her first sport since tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in her proper knee in a WNBA playoff sport virtually a yr in the past, scoring Canada’s first factors of the match and taking part in 19 minutes.

The sport was a rematch of Canada’s opening sport of the Tokyo Olympics. They stumbled out of the gate in opposition to the Serbs, a 72-68 loss that every one however decided their destiny in Tokyo.

Achonwa mentioned earlier this week that the crew performed tight in Tokyo beneath weighty expectations of a medal.

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Canada Basketball made some vital adjustments after the Olympics, hiring Spaniard Victor Lapena as head coach, and including Noelle Quinn, head coach of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, as an assistant.

Canada obtained off to a shaky begin and trailed by 5 factors early on. However they discovered their groove late within the first quarter heading into the second down 16-15.

The Canadians went up by 5 when Bridget Carleton drilled a three-pointer off a crosscourt move from Laeticia Amihere halfway by way of the second. Canada continued to construct on its lead, and Alexander’s free throw to finish the quarter despatched the Canadians into the halftime break with a 38-28 lead.

Serbia sliced the distinction to eight factors within the third, however Achonwa’s putback with 4 seconds left gave Canada a 54-41 lead with one quarter to play.

Shay Colley’s leap shot with 6:45 to play put the Canadians up by 15 factors, however Serbia battled again to inside eight two minutes later. Nirra Fields went coast to coast to attain after a steal, giving Canada 11 factors of respiration room with 2:22 to play. The Serbs minimize the distinction to seven with just below a minute to play, nevertheless it was already all however sport over.

Canada has two World Cup bronze medals, from 1979 and ’86. The Canadians had been quarterfinalists in each the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

They’ve been drawn into a tricky Pool B within the 12-team World Cup. Subsequent up is No. 6 France on Friday. Canada additionally faces Japan, the reigning Olympic silver medallists, hosts and No. 3-ranked Australia, after which shut group play in opposition to Mali.

The highest 4 from every group advance to the quarterfinals on Sept. 29. The semifinals are Sept. 30, and the medal video games are Oct. 1.

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