After beginning its European exhibition tour by sweeping the Czech Republic and compiling a 2-1 mark in Serbia, the Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) has opened this weekend’s four-team tournament in France with a tough 55-35 loss. The team’s record stands at 4-2 with two games remaining on the tour.

France opened the game with a strong 10-3 push, but the SWNT pushed with defiantly. The women put together a small 5-point run to stay in the game. Two free throws from East Preston, N.S. native Justine Colley drew the two sides even at 12-points after the first frame. The second also proved to be an even affair as both sides showcased their defensive games. Canada held the French to seven points, but managed to score just five of their own. The quiet quarter left the Canadians down 19-17 at the midway point of the game.

An experienced French squad featuring seven members who competed at the London Olympics pulled away in the second half. France raced to a quick 8-point lead while Canada to mount a comeback. Janelle Bekkering of Taber, Alta. came into the game and provided an instant spark for the Canadians with a 3-point play, but France re-established their blanketing defense and finished the quarter ahead 36-25. The game closed-out in much the same fashion as France continued to shoot the ball better in the second-half and Canada struggled to build momentum.

The SWNT controlled the glass for much of the game and ended with a 38-33 rebounding advantage. Colley finished with 12 points to lead the Red and White in scoring. Head coach Lisa Thomaidis sees the team’s defence as a good place from which to grow. “France exposed our inexperience on offensive tonight.  The silver lining in this situation is that our defense kept us in the game for most of the match. Tomorrow we face a tough team from Spain. We need to prepare and get ready to face another solid team.”

For FIBA Live Stats of the game, please follow this link.

Team Canada will play Spain on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. to continue the tournament before closing out the three-day affair – and the team’s European exhibition tour – on Sunday against Turkey.