Image courtesy of FIBA

The Junior Women’s National Team (JWNT) suffered a tough 80-62 quarter-final loss to undefeated Spain at the FIBA U19 World Championship for Women on Friday morning. The loss puts Canada into the classification round with a 3-4 record in the tournament.

The first quarter was played with runs from both sides as Canada jumped out to a 7-3 lead before Spain put together a steady response, but it was the Canadian side that pulled ahead by a count of 16-14 after the game’s opening 10 minutes. Spain pushed back in the second frame before Canada rattled off an 8-0 run to lead 37-36 at halftime.

The JWNT played a strong third quarter to give the team a 55-51 advantage heading into the final frame, but the lead did not last. In the fourth, Spain demonstrated why they entered the quarter-final contest as the top seed from the second round’s Group E. The team came together and rallied to further their undefeated record by closing the game on a 23-2 run to avoid the upset. 

Emma Wolfram of Kamloops, B.C. led Canada with 13 points and added six rebounds. Sudbury, Ont. product Sam Cooper showed a strong all-around game with 12 points, four rebounds and three steals, while Clarkston, Washington’s Jamie Weisner chipped in nine points for the Canadians. The game’s full set of statistics can be seen here

“I’m incredibly proud of our effort today,” said head coach Scott Edwards. “We battled a good team for 40 minutes and the final score doesn’t really reflect the quality of this game. We put forth an outstanding effort and all the credit to a resilient Spanish team.”

Weisner reflected on the outcome of the match, but stayed focused on the task ahead. “This one hurts because we had our chances. It was a hard fought battle and we let it slip away at the end. We still have two games left and when we walk out on the court tomorrow, we will be ready.”

The JWNT will resume play on Saturday in the fifth to eighth-place classification round. Their opponents will be Brazil who lost 51-39 in a tight quarter-final match-up with France. The time of the game has yet to be determined.