- Canada’s U19 Women’s National Team stormed back from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit, before prevailing 80-73 in overtime over France to win bronze at the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup on Sunday in Madrid, Spain.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Canada got off to a slow start, as the team only had two points in the game’s first six minutes. The team called a timeout with 4:22 left in the first quarter as the Canadians were down 9-2.
- However, Canada began to storm back when Syla Swords hit the team’s first field goal at 3:10 in the quarter to bring Canada within single digits of the lead. Delaney Gibb hit a much-needed three for Team Canada to bring the score to 16-12 France.
- Yet in the final minute of the first quarter, France managed to widen the lead to 10 points, and after the first 10 minutes of play, France led 22-15.
- Canada came out aggressive in the first few minutes of the second quarter, as T'yana Todd scored a quick four points and got Canada within three points to force a France timeout.
- Swords tied the game at 26 when she made a driving layup at 6:53 in the second, and the game remained back and forth until halftime. With 1:44 left in the quarter, Emma Koabel made a three from Swords to tie the game at 33 a piece.
- On the final possession in the first half, Swords was fouled and made both free throws to put Canada up 38-37.
- The game remained close in the third quarter as both teams traded baskets. With 5:03 left in the quarter, Achol Akot scored a layup to bring Canada within five points. France extended its lead to eight points in the following minutes, but Jada Bediako's layup reduced their lead.
- In the final minute of the quarter, a free throw by Akot put the Canadians within five points, and France led 60-55 at the end of the third.
- Canada slowed in the fourth quarter after France extended its lead to nine points and forced a Canada timeout. However, midway through the fourth, Canada began to find their rhythm, and Canada scored six points, putting them down two points.
- With 3:05 left in the quarter, Swords made a three to put Canada up by one point and force a France timeout. Then, with 2:19 left, Swords was fouled and made one out of two free throws to tie the game at 68. No one scored since that mark, and the game headed to overtime.
- A back-and-forth start saw both teams trade leads until Gibb hit a long three and put Canada up 75-73. On Canada’s next possession, Fournier drew a foul, and she knocked down both free throws to extend Canada’s lead by four points.
- Canada proved they were the hungrier team despite leading for only 4:21 in the entire game.
- Swords was electric in Canada’s final game, making shots when it mattered the most. She finished with a game-high 26 points, six rebounds and six assists. She had 17 points on 63 per cent shooting at halftime.
- With 3:34 left in the fourth quarter, Fournier blocked one of France’s shots which would have tied the game at 66. Instead, it gave Canada the momentum to score a three and take the lead. Fournier finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
- Free throws were instrumental for Canada in overtime. The team made 7/10 free throws in the final five minutes of play to secure the win.
“Obviously, we were missing two of our really key players, so everyone did a great job stepping up and filling in a needed role. So we all feel really excited to know that we worked together as a team to get it done and bring a medal home for Canada.” – Swords on how the team feels after grabbing bronze.
“I tried to lighten the mood honestly, just said, Hey, we’re having so much fun. We get to play five more minutes.” – Head coach Carly Clarke on the message going into overtime.
“It was a huge game with a big crowd, so knowing that I did my best to bring home a medal for Canada was amazing.” – Swords on her performance.
“Syla Swords didn’t shoot the ball at her normal rate yesterday but kept us in the game in the first half today. Other people stepped up, everyone made the most of their minutes, whether it was 30 seconds or almost 45 minutes for some. Huge credit to the team for staying connected, trusting the process, leaning into what everyone was being asked to do, and it was a real joy to watch them celebrate this win today. They certainly earned it.” – Clarke on the team’s resilience.
- The medal is Canada’s first at the tournament since 2017, when the country captured bronze following a 67-60 bronze medal game win over Japan.
- After guiding Canada to the bronze in 2017, Clarke won her second FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup medal as a head coach with the victory.
- Swords’ 26 points are the most scored for a Canadian in a medal game at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup. Her 17 halftime points are also the most ever scored in a medal game by a Canadian at the tournament.
- Canada moves 4-2 against France all-time in this tournament.
- With the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup and FIBA U16 Women’s Americas 2023 both over, fans will have to wait until 2024 to see more tournament action. Canada will play in the FIBA U17 Women’s World Cup 2024 in Mexico.