BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (June 18, 2022) - The Canadian U18 Women’s National Team defeated host team Argentina 78-63 on Saturday. Canada moved to 5-0 at the FIBA U18 Women's Americas Championship 2022, and advanced to the gold medal game on Sunday.
Canada was led by a 14-point performance from T’yana Todd as well as a 13-point effort from Mary-Anna Asare who also led the team with four assists. Skylar Forbes scored 10 points, while Cheyenne Rowe added 10 rebounds and Lemyah Hylton added nine points and seven rebounds in the win.
“We've been focused on the opportunity to play for a gold medal and now we’ve earned that chance, but tonight Argentina showed a lot of heart, a lot of passion and we couldn’t find a way to finish them off when we had our opportunities,” Team Canada head coach Steve Baur said. “We showed great resilience, bouncing back from each of their runs, we had some timely shots from T’yana and Mary, and we continued to battle on the glass to keep [Argentina] from extending any runs.”
Canada started the game strong, behind an eight-point first quarter from Forbes, but Argentina was right there with them as the teams traded baskets for the first half of the quarter. A layup from Emma Koabel gave Canada a 14-9 lead and then a steal from Koabel resulted in Jasmine Bascoe going to the line to shoot free throws. Bascoe made her free throws and then she hit a three-pointer to give Canada a 21-15 advantage. After Hylton blocked a shot on defence and then assisted on a three-pointer for Koabel on the other end, Canada extended its lead further. On the team’s next possession, it was Koabel who assisted on a Hylton three-pointer as Canada hit five threes in the opening 10 minute and led 29-16 at the end of the quarter.
“Our key was to come out with a lot of energy and throw the first punch,” Asare said.
“Obviously there were a lot of ups and downs, but feeding off the energy of each other and staying together, that’s what helped us pull out this win today and go on to the final.”
Argentina shot 38 percent from the floor compared to Canada’s 35 percent, but Canada’s advantage from beyond the arc, as well as the 21 extra field goal attempts they got up showed in the final score. Canada again won the rebounding battle, recording 49 rebounds to 41 for Argentina, while also holding a 17-8 edge on the offensive glass.
“Our energy and our focus to stay committed to the game [is what made the difference],” Bascoe said.”There were a few times we let up a bit, but we managed to keep ourselves together and come out with the W.”
Canada continued to add to the lead in the second quarter as Koabel found Rowe with a gorgeous pass for an easy layup, and then Todd drilled a stepback three-pointer. Fatima Diakhaté’s presence around the basket and in the paint was felt throughout the first half. After a second three-pointer from Todd, Canada went into the halftime break leading 44-25.
Throughout this tournament, Hylton has put together scoring runs and bursts to help Canada pull away. A three-pointer from Hylton opened Canada’s scoring in the second half and then Hylton found Asare for a three-pointer of her own. Hylton followed that up with a steal that led to a layup from Asare as Canada’s lead hit 20 points.
With Canada leading 56-32, Argentina scored 10 straight points until Asare’s third three of the game snapped the run. From there, Hylton went on another burst as she scored on a layup, then got the steal and drew a foul, hitting a pair of free throws to extend Canada’s lead back to 63-42 at the end of three quarters.
The final frame was much of the same. Though the offence stalled for both teams for much of the fourth quarter, Argentina wasn’t able to string together stops and scores to really cut into Canada's lead. They wouldn’t get any closer than 15 points the rest of the way through.
Up next for Canada is a meeting with the United States in the championship game on Sunday, June 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET.