SENIOR WOMEN DEFEAT JAMAICA TO OPEN FIBA AMERICAS


Image courtesy of FIBA Americas

The Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) began the 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women with a 75-37 victory over Jamaica. The first day of the tournament on Saturday saw Canada observe the field of competition on an off-day. Team Canada now has a 1-0 record while Jamaica falls to 0-2 following a tough 75-51 opening day loss to Cuba. 

Canada quickly seized control of the match from the opening tip-off. On the strength of a 15-0 spurt, the SWNT raced to an 18-2 lead to begin the game. Jamaica was held without a field goal until the final minute of the opening quarter. After trailing 21-7 to start the frame, the second period saw the Caribbean squad bounce back. Jamaica used a strong effort to outscore Canada 18-12 and claw-back into the match. At halftime, Canada’s lead had been trimmed to eight at 33-25.

Team Canada emerged from the break focused and it showed on the court. Pairing an efficient offence and a stifling defence, the Canadian side put together a 20-0 stretch to break open the game and lead 54-29 after 30 minutes of play. The final period saw much of the same as Canada again tallied 21 points while holding the opposition to single digits. The Red and White’s unselfish play was a recurring theme throughout the match as the team collected 22 assists on 27 made field goals.

The SWNT’s balanced attack was led by Kim Gaucher of Mission, B.C. who finished with a game-high 15 points, including three field goals from three-point range, while tying teammate and London, Ont. native Miranda Ayim for the game-high in rebounds with eight. Brampton, Ont. product Tamara Tatham showed her all-around skill set with nine points, five rebounds and a game-high four steals. Four players finished with eight points as the Canadian reserves outscored Jamaica’s bench 36-16. Canada out-rebounded the opposition 48-25, including a 19-8 margin on the offensive end. The game’s statistics are available here.

After the game, head coach Lisa Thomaidis spoke of the team's eagerness and anticipation heading into the competition. "It felt like an eternity waiting for this game – for this tournament – to begin. It was great to get this win under our belts." When asked about the match, she added, "Our depth is one of the strengths of this team. If some players are having a tough night, others are able to step up and contribute. It is great when that happens."

She remained focused when asked about the team’s next task. “Now, we must learn from this game and get ourselves ready for a tough Chilean team tomorrow.” Team Chile is 0-2 in the tournament following an opening-day 77-74 loss to Venezuela and an 85-59 setback at the hands of Cuba. Tip-off for Monday’s match is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. (ET). The game will be broadcast live on NBA TV Canada.