SENIOR WOMEN DEFEAT BRAZIL TO OPEN FOUR NATIONS

The Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) kicked-off the Four Nations Women’s Basketball Tournament with a 63-46 victory over Brazil. Team Canada last played as a single unit through an exhibition tour across Europe, compiling a 5-3 record with stops in the Czech Republic, Serbia and France.

Playing in their tournament-openers, both teams came out competitive and focused. A fairly even quarter saw Canada outscore Brazil by a count of 17-14. The pace slowed down in the second as defence became more of a priority. The Canadians held Brazil to seven points in the frame, but managed only ten themselves.

Team Canada came out of the break energized, combining a stifling defensive effort with solid production from many of its key players. A 19-9 third quarter extended the lead to 46-30 and Canada would go on to lead by as many as 20 points in the match. Brazil pressed hard in the final quarter, but the Red and White matched their offence to preserve the victory.

Canada was led by Hamilton, Ont. native Kia Nurse who finished with a team-high 12 points. Brampton, Ont. product Tamara Tatham notched 11 on the day, while the SWNT’s balanced attack saw three more players within two points of double-digits. Tatham tied a game-high with eight rebounds, while Kendel Ross corralled six. The game’s statistics can be viewed here.

Veteran Kim Smith of Mission, B.C. commented on the contest by saying, "It was a great start to our second phase here in China. We were taken aback by Brazil's pressure in the first half, but we picked up the pace in the third quarter and were able to get the win tonight."

Head coach Lisa Thomaidis acknowledges the opening frame of the second half as a turning point and credits the all-around play of the team for tonight’s victory. "Despite a rusty first half, our defence came through in the third quarter. We were able to extend the lead and hang on for the win. Our veterans did a great job at both ends of the floor. We had excellent contributions from our youthful backcourt who played with composure and really handled the pressure that Brazil brought tonight."

The eight-day, six-game Four Nations Tournament will see the SWNT face today’s opponent, the host-nation and Puerto Rico in each of the cities of Daqing and Nanjing. Team Canada will match-up against Team China on Saturday with tip-off set for 2:00 a.m. (ET). China opened the competition with an 84-59 victory over Puerto Rico.