Canada’s team of student-athletes fell just short of a comeback in a tight 72-67 loss to Chinese Taipei at the FISU Summer Universiade. Despite the loss, Team Canada has advanced to the next round of play at the Universiade, also known as the World University Games.

The game began evenly with both teams exchanging scoring chances, but the Chinese Taipei side exploded for a 13-3 run in the opening quarter’s final five minutes to take control. Canada tried to respond in the second quarter, but a suffocating defensive from the opposition stopped the Canadians from gaining any momentum. Chinese Taipei continued to press with a determined offence to outscore Canada 18-9 in the quarter to take a commanding 39-20 lead into halftime.

By the midway mark of the third, Canada’s deficit had ballooned to 28 points. From there, the Canadian side somehow found firm ground on which to stand and mount a comeback. A 15-4 run trimmed Chinese Taipei’s lead to 17 after 30 minutes. Team Canada continued its push to begin the forth quarter, but the opposition increased its defensive intensity to keep the Canadians at-bay. 

With five minutes to play, Canada once again reached deep and found another level. The Canadians’ heroic effort came to a head with a trifecta of triples – two from Dartmouth, N.S. native Rachelle Coward and one from Windsor, Ontario’s Miah-Maria Langlois – to close within three points in the match’s final minute. A pair of made free throws would seal the game away for Chinese Taipei and end Canada’s comeback bid.

Coward led the way for Canada with 13 points on the day. Korissa Williams and Langlois had 12 in the match, highlighted by Langlois’s eight in the game’s final minutes. The game’s full set of statistics can be viewed here.

When asked about the contest, head coach Fabian McKenzie commented, “We came out timid early and allowed them to jump all over us while we buried ourselves in a hole at the half. We challenged our team to chip away at the lead and that’s what they did. Our team responded with a great effort and almost stole one. I'm very proud of them.”

North Vancouver, B.C. product Kristjana Young lamented the team’s slow beginning, but now looks forward to the next round. "We had a rocky start, but we battled our way back in the second half which gave us a chance to win. I'm proud of the heart our team showed. I'm so excited to advance to the top 8 and play against Australia." Team Canada will begin the quarter-final round on Friday against Australia with tip-off scheduled for 10:00 a.m. (ET).