DEBRECEN, HUNGARY (July 15, 2022) - The Canadian U17 Women’s National Team defeated host-team Hungry 70-49 on Friday to advance to the Semifinals of the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Canada was led by a 21-point performance from Cassandre Prosper who also finished with eight rebounds, an assist, four steals and four blocked shots as well as a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double from Toby Lee Fournier who also recorded four steals and five blocked shots.
“Today’s game was great,” Team Canada head coach Cheryl Jean-Paul said. “We are so excited to be in the semifinals. The team played with a lot of focus and we had a lot of contributions from a lot of players. We are in a historic moment for this group. It's been a long time since Canada has been in the Final Four and we look forward to the next game.”
Delaney Gibb added 11 points, while Jada Bediako and Summer Bostock each scored eight points for Canada.
Canada shot 36 percent in the game compared to 31 percent shooting for Hungary. Led by Fournier and Prosper, Canada recorded 10 blocked shots in the win while also holding a 46-22 edge in points scored in the paint and an 18-4 advantage in fast break points.
“Today I think as a team we had really good ball movement,” Prosper said. “We were crashing the [offensive] boards and [defensive] boards. I also think our defensive rotations got much better throughout the tournament and we were playing really good defence, hard defence. Everyone was playing with effort, working hard. Our shots were dropping. I think because we did so well as a team moving the ball we had good opportunities, good shots, good ball movement.”
Hungary was led by a 14-point performance from Heléna Lilla Dobó and a 12-point effort from Edina Strausz in the loss.
Canada led for all but 27 seconds of the game, scoring seven straight points after Hungary took a two-point lead to start. A layup from Jada Bediako gave Canada a six-point lead with 4:37 remaining in the quarter, but Hungary kept things close, coming back to trail by just a point, 19-18 after the opening quarter.
A steal and layup from Gibb opened second-quarter scoring. Hungary responded with a layup of their own to get back within a point, but Prosper scored on a layup while being fouled, making the free throw to complete the three-point play and give Canada a four-point lead. After a steal and layup from Fournier, Hungary called a timeout with 8:02 remaining in the half.
Sumer Lee hit a pair of free throws for Canada and then a three-point play from Prosper extended Canada’s lead to 10 points. Hungary responded by scoring the final four points of the half to get within six, 33-27, at the break.
Canada dialled up the defence in the second half, holding Hungary to just 22 points combined over the third and fourth quarters.
Fournier opened the second half scoring with a layup and then 36 seconds later hit a pair of free throws to extend Canada’s lead to eight. A steal and layup from Prosper extended Canada’s lead to 11, 46-35, with 5:44 remaining in the quarter. Canada continued to steadily build their advantage as a steal from Gibb with 14 seconds remaining led to free throws for Ajok Deng Obed Madol who made both to give Canada a 52-38 lead heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter got off to a slow start, with the teams trading misses until Fourier was fouled and made a pair of free throws to extend Canada’s advantage to 16 with 7:35 remaining. After a layup from Prosper, Canada led by 18, 56-38, with 7:03 remaining. Fournier and Prosper had back-to-back blocks for Canada, before Prosper rose up and drilled a three-pointer to extend Canada’s advantage to 21. A jumper from Dobó gave Hungary their first points of the quarter with 5:59 remaining in the game, but the damage was already done.
Canada kept the intensity up on both ends of the floor until the final buzzer sounded. Back-to-back steals and layups for Madol kept the lead at 21 points with 2:25 remaining. Despite the lead, Canada’s defence didn’t let up for a second, forcing Hungary into a 24-second shot-clock violation with 1:19 remaining.
Third place is Canada’s highest-ever finish at a FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup. Up next for Canada is a semifinals match up on Saturday, July 16, time and opponent to be determined.
“For tomorrow, I would say that the biggest thing will be our defence,” Prosper said. “Not giving easy baskets, running back in transition defence, and also taking pride in the fact that we’re Team Canada and we have to play with passion.”