(Photo:Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – The Canadian Team knew what was at stake, a win and you get to play on Tuesday. Well, Canada was able to beat the sixth ranked Brazilian basketball team in a game that both teams needed in order to reach the quarter-finals. Canada was able to score at will and when their defense was needed, they were able to get the stops as Canada won, 79-73.
“We just wanted to rebound from our loss to France, we thought we could have played better,” said Canadian guard, Courtnay Pilypaitis. “We came out hard, we had a great start, everyone came off the bench played well and it was a great team effort.”
When asked if reaching the quarter-finals was one of the team’s goals, Pilypaitis responded, “Absolutely, we knew it would be tough, but we knew we could upset a few teams. We are very happy with our result.”
Canada’s attack was a well-balanced one against Brazil. Canada had five players score in double digits including; Courtnay Pilypaitis and Kim Smith scoring 14 points each, 13 from Tamara Tatham, 11 from Natalie Achonwa and 10 from Shona Thorburn.
Brazil was led by Erika Souza who had 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while her teammate Clarissa Dos Santos also had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Canada began the game ready to go, as they were able to win the tip and on their first possession they were able to hit a jumper from Kim Smith. Canada was then able to steal the ball in the opening minute by Courtnay Pilypaitis and she was able to finish with a lay-up. Canada finished the quarter on a 10-0 run to give Canada the 18-8 lead after the opening ten minutes of play.
With both team needing the win, Brazil was able to answer to begin the second quarter by scoring quickly and often, after a lacklustre opening quarter. Brazil was able to cut the deficit to four points, 24-20 early in the quarter. Canada was once again able to respond by finishing the quarter on another 10-0 run capped off by a Tamara Tatham steal and finished by a Natalie Achonwa lay-up. Canada was able to go into the locker room with a 39-25 advantage.
In the third frame, Brazil changed their tactics by playing a full court press and pressuring Canada at will. This caused problems for the Canadian team and Brazil was able to come back from the 14 point half-time deficit. Brazil was able to score 26 points in the quarter and by the end of the frame, Canada entered the fourth quarter with a slim 55-53 lead.
Early in the fourth, Brazil completed the comeback by gaining the 56-55 advantage. Luckily, that was the last time Brazil was able to hold on to the lead. Canada cracked the Brazilian full court press and were able to add to their lead. Brazil kept it close all the way to the final whistle, but Canada prevailed and earned a spot into the quarter-finals with the final score being, 79-73.
Canada will end their preliminary schedule with a game against Australia on Sunday, August 5 at 9:30 a.m. EDT. The game will be televised on Sportsnet and available online at ctvolympics.ca.