U16 WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM BEATS BRAZIL 72-71 TO WIN FIRST-EVER FIBA AMERICAS GOLD MEDAL

TORONTO, ON – For the first time in Canada’s history, the U16 Women’s National Team has won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas tournament after beating Brazil 72-71 in Puebla, Mexico. This is the first gold medal for any Canadian women’s age-group team at the FIBA Americas tournament.

“What a game. I’m incredibly proud of our girls – they kept their composure. We knew Brazil wouldn’t go away and it would be a tough 40-minute battle. It ended being 45 minute battle,” said Co-Head Coach Carly Clarke.

“The girls stuck to our number one key, which was rebounding, and I think that ended up being the difference in the game. Brazil made some huge shots down the stretch but we kept our composure and stuck to the game plan and that ended up paying off in the end.”

“I’m incredibly proud of our effort and incredibly proud of these girls for their passion, their pride and their unity. They stuck together through that whole game and whole tournament and we got a great result.”

Canada’s gold-medal win was led by a number of players. Alyssa Jerome was key down the stretch, making free throws and grabbing rebounds. Jerome finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Hailey Brown scored 14 points with nine rebounds while Roxane Makolo poured in 12 points with five rebounds and three assists. Brazil’s Izabela Leite was the game’s leading scorer, dropping 32 points with seven rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers while playing all 45 minutes. For full box score, shot chart and play-by-play, click here.

The first quarter was a sign of nerves from either side. Both teams struggled from the field but Brazil would take the first significant lead. Canada was down 11-6, but a late run capped by a Roxane Makolo three at the buzzer knotted the score at 11 after one quarter.

Canada hit their stride offensively in the second quarter. The group started to connect on jump shots as they settled into their offence while containing Brazil on the glass. Canada won the quarter 18-12 -- their biggest quarter margin of the game -- and hit the locker room with a 29-23 advantage.

It appeared Canada would run away with the game early in the third, grabbing a 38-25 lead with 6:07 remaining in the quarter. Brazil’s timeout would steady and Team Canada held a 44-37 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Brazil would edge their way back into the game, tying it at 51 with 5:46 left in the quarter. Team Canada stood their ground but Brazil stayed alive behind a variety of incredible shot-making, including an off-balance three that hit the front of the rim and backboard before falling through. Canada’s final attempt would miss and the gold medal game headed to overtime.

Defence was the key to the final five minutes. Brazil was held scoreless for the first three minutes of the period and Canada attacked the rim to draw fouls. Team Canada had a four-point lead with 17 seconds remaining before another three fell for Brazil, leaving five seconds on the clock. Forced to foul, Brazil put Canada at the line but could not secure the rebound. Time expired and it was final; the U16 Women’s National Team were FIBA Americas champions.

“We are very proud of what this young team has achieved and appreciate all the tremendous work the coaches and support staff have put in over the course of the year,” said Denise Dignard, Director of Women’s High Performance at Canada Basketball.

"I also want to recognize the contribution of our targeted coaches and all the school/club coaches who are focusing on the long-term development of these female athletes towards helping them become world class in women’s basketball.”

Coaches and athletes will return to Canada tomorrow.

For the full championship roster and coaching staff, click here.

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