CANADIAN COMEBACK COMES CLOSE AT WORLDS


Image courtesy of FIBA

In Canada’s first game of the fifth to eighth-place classification round at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women, the Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) fell 70-63 to Brazil. The loss moves Team Canada to a 3-5 record. The Canadians will next match-up against Japan on Sunday for seventh-place in the competition. 

Brazil came out looking sharp and focused. The opposition put together an 18-0 run en route to a 29-6 first quarter, but Canada began to chip away at the lead in the second. Canada won the frame 19-13 and had reduced the margin to 42-25 at halftime, led by nine points from Emma Wolfram.

The resilient JWNT continued to push back in the second half, winning the third quarter 19-15. A determined Canadian side opened the final period on an 8-2 run and would cut the Brazilian advantage to three points in the match’s final minute, but time ticked down and Brazil came away with the victory.  Canada won the fourth quarter by a count of 19-13 to cap-off three consecutive quarters of outscoring Team Brazil.

Jamie Weisner of Clarkston, Washington scored 30 points for Canada in the game, including 13 in the fourth quarter. It was Weisner’s second 30-plus point effort after scoring 33 against Netherlands in her international debut; she remains the only player to eclipse 30 in the tournament. Kamloops, B.C. product Wolfram registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The game’s full set of statistics are available here.

Sudbury, Ont. native Sam Cooper reflected on the team’s slow start when asked about Canada’s performance. “We dug ourselves into a hole in the first quarter, but we battled back hard and we had a chance to come out on-top at the end. We want to bring more energy tomorrow and come home with a win.”

“After a poor start, we played great basketball for three quarters,” head coach Scott Edwards said. “We fought our way back and that gave us a chance to win the game, being down three with 30 seconds left. Unfortunately, we were unable to overcome the large deficit from the first quarter. We are very proud of the character that the team showed for the rest of the game. I am confident that we will bring that same spirit tomorrow in our last game of the World Championship.”

The Junior Women will close-out the tournament against Japan when they meet for seventh-place on the final day of competition. The Japanese side also holds a 3-5 mark after losing their first classification round game to China by a score of 70-49. The time of the contest has yet to be decided.