SWNT defeats host France 66-52 to improve to 2-1 on European tour

Canada Basketball's Senior Women's National Team improved to 2-1 on its European series with a 66-52 triumph over host France in Caen on Tuesday.

Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe led the SWNT with 16 points, while Miranda Ayim scored 11 and Kim Gaucher added 9. Celine Dumerc had 16 points for France. For the full boxscore visit http://www.fibalivestats.com/u/FFBB/296823/index_en_AU.html

We knew we would have to come out strong against France, they're a very experienced tough team to play,” said Raincock-Ekunwe, who had seven points in the opening quarter. “I thought we brought great energy at the beginning. The first, the second, the third, the fourth – the whole game – we just brought it.”

A stellar defensive effort from the SWNT limited France to just 26% (15/57) on field-goals and 1/13 from beyond the arc. Canada outrebounded the opposition 40-35, as Kim Gaucher grabbed 6 boards and Katherine Plouffe snagged 5. Shona Thorburn and Miah-Marie Langlois quarterbacked Canada's offence with 4 and 3 assists, respectively, and helped hold off a late charge by France, who are ranked No. 4 in the world by FIBA.

That was a typical Canadian win,” SWNT head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “Defensively I thought we really locked them down and stuck to the game plan. Holding a team like France to 52 points is always an accomplishment, and at the offensive end we had lots of great contributions. Nayo had a fantastic game, Miranda came up with some big shots when we needed, and Miah-Marie and Shona really controlled the tempo when France started to make a run.”

Tamara Tatham joined Gaucher, Katherine Plouffe, Raincock-Ekunwe and Thorburn in the starting lineup Tuesday. France led 18-17 after the opening quarter, but Canada responded to win the second quarter 12-10 and take a 29-28 advantage into the break.

After Dumerc scored the opening basket of the second half to briefly put France back in front, Canada went on a 14-4 run, in which all five starters scored at least one point, and closed the quarter leading 48-37.

Buoyed by their fans, the hosts surged back to pull within two points, 54-52, with just over 3 minutes remaining, before back-to-back triples from Thorburn and Ayim snuffed out France's comeback bid.

The SWNT continues its five-game trip, Wednesday in France, against Australia at noon ET. Live stats are available at http://www.fibalivestats.com/webcast/FFBB/296827/. Follow all Canada Basketball games at @CanBBall

Full SWNT roster is available here: http://basketball.ca/en/team_programs/womens-team