Women's National Team Beats Cuba 71-68 to Finish First in Their Group at TORONTO 2015
Toronto, ON - The Women's National Team's final group-stage game ended in a 71-68 win over Cuba at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Ontario.
Canada head coach, Lisa Thomaidis stated "Anytime you can get a win, especially against a solid opponent like Cuba, you gain more confidence."
"This is a great win for our program, great win at home, but we got more to do," said Canadian Centre Natalie Achonwa. "The red and white, the noise - it's the reason why we won this game, the benefit of playing at home."
Guelph, Ontario native, Achonwa finished the game with 15 points on 5-10 shooting to go along with 7 rebounds and a steal while Nirra Fields chipped in with 12 points. Cuba's Oyanaisy Gelis finished with 18 points while shooting 33% from the field. For a full box score, click here.
Canada and Cuba went back and forth to start the quarter as the score was 14-14 midway through the frame. Coming off the bench, Achonwa gave Canada a much-needed spark heading into the second quarter, leading 20-18 after one.
After settling into the game, Canada started to find their groove and play as a team. Fields shined in the frame as she hit a three-pointer and converted a crucial three-point play for a total of 6 points. Going into the half, Canada led 40-35 with Miranda Ayim and Achonwa leading the way with 8 points each and Tamara Tatham dishing out 4 assists.
Canada created even more distance between them and Cuba in the third quarter with exceptional defense which held Cuba to 13 points. Even through poor team shooting (4-16 FG%), Canada managed to score 20 points throughout the quarter and go into the fourth with a 60-48 lead.
The Women's National Team looked to close out the game in the fourth quarter. Cuba stormed back to cut the lead to three points with less than a minute left in the game (69-66). After a Cuban player was fouled on a three-point attempt, she headed to the line to potentially tie the game. With less than ten seconds left, Kia Nurse secured the rebound off of the third free-throw miss which lead to an easy layup for Tatham to seal Team Canada's victory - 71-68.
Canada will play the second-place finisher in Group A tomorrow at the Mattamy Athletic Center in Toronto, Ontario. The winner will move on to the Finals of the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.
For the full Women's National Team Roster and coaching staff, click here.
Follow @CanBball on Twitter for updates on the next game.
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