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Canada stays undefeated at FIBA ladies’s World Cup with win over France

It took lower than 5 minutes for Canada’s ladies’s basketball group to show Friday’s World Cup recreation versus France right into a romp.

The Canadians’ 17-0 run that straddled the second and third quarters stunned even coach Victor Lapena.

“17? I didn’t know,” Lapena mentioned, with raised eyebrows, within the post-game press convention. “Incredible.”

Nirra Fields scored 17 factors, whereas Kayla Alexander had a game-high 14 rebounds plus 9 factors and the Canadians (2-0) beat France 59-45 to stay the one undefeated group in Group B.

Shay Colley added 11 factors for the Canadians, who by no means trailed and led by as many as 20 factors.

“We performed actually good group basketball in the present day, particularly on the defensive finish, we have been actually locked in on the sport plan, what the coaches requested of us,” Alexander mentioned. 

Gabby Williams scored 13 factors to high France.

The Canadians’ victory got here two days after a 67-60 win over Serbia, and all however clinches a spot within the quarterfinals as the highest 4 groups in every group advance. A excessive end within the preliminary spherical, and a big level differential, might be key to avoiding the People within the knockout spherical.

No. 6 France, in the meantime, was developing a 67-59 upset of third-ranked Australia, however regarded nothing like that victorious group in opposition to a smothering Canadian defence.

“I like that we swap up our defences as a result of it throws the opponents off observe normally, it may well get them out of their rhythm and it simply exhibits as a group that we’re locked in and that we’re in a position to truly execute when coach throws one thing else on the market,” Alexander mentioned. “So, I truly like with the ability to combine it up and throwing one thing completely different at our opponents, attempting to get them up off their toes a bit.”

It was the second stable recreation from the 31-year-old Alexander, who led Canada in scoring in opposition to Serbia with 13 factors. Her hustle on the boards on Friday noticed Canada outrebound France 56-38.

“I do know I’m not a really vocal individual. I’m extra of a quiet chief,” Alexander mentioned. “I attempt to lead by instance, however to know that you’ve got coaches and teammates that belief in you and consider in you, it means loads. I’m very grateful.”

Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse had seven factors, together with 5 within the first 5 minutes, as she continues her comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her proper knee virtually a yr in the past.

Lapena, who was employed in January after Canada’s disappointing preliminary-round exit on the Tokyo Olympics, was thrilled together with his group’s defensive effort, however wish to see an enchancment on the offensive finish.

“I feel as a coach I wish to . . . give them the instruments to attain at the very least 10 extra factors,” the Spaniard mentioned. “We’ve got gamers with factors of their arms . . . I’ve to consider, to review our prospects to provide them the instruments . . . to get pleasure from extra offence.”

Canada shot simply 29 per cent from the sphere and 30 per cent from three-point vary. France shot 37 per cent, however went simply 3-for-19 — 16 per cent — from behind the arc.

Each groups struggled to attain in an unpleasant first quarter that noticed the Canadians race out to an early six-point lead and lead 15-9 to begin the second.

The Canadians discovered their offensive groove late within the half, ending with a 9-0 run within the last 1:45 punctuated by a three-pointer from Bridget Carleton. Fields’ driving layup with 15 seconds left despatched Canada into the halftime break with a 29-17 lead.

The Canadians opened the second half with an 8-0 run, capped with a three-pointer from Colley that noticed Canada take a 20-point lead. France sliced the distinction to 13 factors late within the third quarter, however Fields’ driving layup put Canada up 45-30 with one quarter to play.

The French battled again to inside 11 factors late within the fourth quarter, however that was as shut as they might come.

Canada takes on Japan (1-1), the reigning Olympic silver medallists, on Sunday. Requested what might be key to beating the Japanese, Lapena mentioned he and his employees will meet to brainstorm defensive methods.

“The gamers are going to be tremendous drained the following day so . . . we’ll make it simpler for them to execute, and they’re doing an awesome job, an awesome job on defence and the angle is ideal,” the coach mentioned.

Japan crushed Mali 89-56 of their opener earlier than dropping a 69-64 choice to Serbia.

The Canadians face Australia on Monday and Mali on Tuesday to wrap up the preliminary spherical.

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