SENIOR WOMEN OPEN IN BRAZIL WITH A WIN

The Senior Women’s National Team (SWNT) opened the Super Four International Tournament with a 65-55 victory over Argentina. The three-game, four-team competition will also feature Canada facing Puerto Rico and host-nation Brazil.

The game opened with both teams playing at a fast pace, looking to establish an early advantage. The teams traded chances and defensive stops as neither could pull away. After an 18-18 first quarter, Team Canada broke the game open in the second with a 16-4 run after Hamilton, Ont. native Kia Nurse began the period with two quick baskets. The team went on to score 19 points while holding the opposition to 11.

Team Argentina fought back in the third to close the gap to three points on three separate occasions, but Canada responded every time the South American side came within striking distance. The SWNT led 50-44 after 30 minutes of play. Team Canada led by as many as 12 in the final frame, but the resilient Argentinian squad remained dangerous throughout the match. Canada finished with a strong defensive effort to close-out the game and secure the win.

The Canadians’ balanced attack was led by Kim Gaucher (nee Smith) of Mission, B.C. and Justine Colley of East Preston, N.S. who each recorded 11 points in the victory. Gaucher finished one rebound shy of a double-double, but still led the game in that category. Brampton, Ontario’s Tamara Tatham added 10 on the night, including a perfect 8-for-8 performance from the free-throw line. The game’s statistics can be viewed here.

Head coach Lisa Thomaidis appreciates the level of competition as the team looks ahead to the FIBA Americas Championship for Women. “Seeing Argentina was good in terms of giving us a benchmark if we happen to see them again at FIBA Americas. Despite not playing to the best of our abilities, we were able to gut out the win with some good defensive work, especially in the second half. We are looking forward to playing a similar style of game against Puerto Rico tomorrow.”

The SWNT and the Puerto Rican side will tip-off at 3:00 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, before Canada faces host-nation Brazil on Sunday to close the tournament. The 2013 FIBA Americas Championship for Women will begin on September 21 in Xalapa, Mexico.