FRANCE EDGES BY JUNIOR WOMEN IN EXHIBITION PLAY

The Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) continued its exhibition tour of Europe with a tight 60-56 loss to France. Canada played well in the two-game set and will now take the lessons learned and apply them to a tournament in Lanzarote, Spain.

Team Canada came out well in the first half and quickly built an 8-4 lead by the midway point of the opening ten minutes. A determined French squad responded with a late run to draw even with the Canadian side at 16-all in the quarter. A close second frame saw France outscore Canada 13-12.

The back-and-forth action continued in the third quarter as both sides traded chances early-on. Another late push by the French side allowed them to take a five-point lead into the final frame. Canada kept pace with France and compiled 16 points in the game’s final ten minutes, Toronto, Ontario’s Sami Hill made a three-pointer in the game’s final minute to pull the team within one, but time expired and the JWNT’s comeback bid came up just short.

Winnipeg, Man. native Emily Potter and Clarkston, Wash. product Jamie Weisner each notched 17 points to lead Canada in the match. Potter also tied Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s Daneesha Provo for the team-high in rebounds with six. The game’s statistics are available here.

Potter saw positives in the team’s effort and looks forward to a re-match between the two teams at the 2013 FIBA World Championship for Women. “We started off well playing with physicality and aggression. We let them back in the game, but we continued to fight hard and compete. As a team, we're upset to lose, but we're happy that we will meet them again in Lithuania.”

When asked about the team’s performance, head coach Rich Chambers responded, “We're very proud of the effort and level of competitiveness that the girls showed tonight. The game came down to a single possession. We were strong on the defensive glass and we shot the ball better tonight. We had great performances by Emily and Jamie– in the second half, they were the spark plugs in our offence. We look forward to learning and growing together in the Canary Islands.” 

Lanzarote is the easternmost island of Spain’s Canary Islands. After a day of travel and practice, the Junior Women will face the host-nation, Australia and the United States in a four-team tournament. Team Canada and Spain will tip-off in the opener on Friday.