Canada basketball
Canada Basketball

Canada downs Dominican Republic to advance to the FIBA Women's AmeriCup 2021 semifinals

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (June 17, 2021) -- The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team sailed past the Dominican Republic 90-53 in a quarter-finals match up on Thursday at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021 to remain undefeated in the tournament.

With the victory, Canada has advanced to one of four FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Qualifying Tournaments which will be held from February 6-14, 2022

Canada was red-hot from beyond the arc in the win, led by a game-high 23-point performance from Aislinn Konig. The 23-year-old sharpshooter contributed half of the team’s three-pointers, finishing 7-for-9 from three as she scored her 23 points on just 10 field goal attempts in 21 minutes of action.

The team as a whole finished the game shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc, making 14 of 34 attempts as six different players connected from deep.

“That three-point shot is such a valuable one in the game today,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “To be able to knock down some threes at a pretty good clip has been a great sign for us and [we had] a number of people knocking them down. It’s certainly allowing us to spread the floor and then identify when to get the ball inside with some single coverage. We’re happy with that, certainly.”

Laeticia Amihere also reached double figures for Canada, finishing with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double off the bench in just 17 minutes, while Shaina Pellington, Jamie Scott and Shay Colley added eight points apiece as Canada had 11 players on the scoreboard in the win. Yohanna Morton had 18 points to lead the Dominican Republic, while Elemy Caridad Colome added 12 points in the loss.

Like the team’s previous games in this tournament, Canada increased its lead each quarter, leading by seven after the first quarter, 15 at the half, and then blowing the game open in the third. Canada outscored Dominican Republic 27-9 in the third quarter to take a 33-point lead, 77-44, into the fourth.

As the team continues to rework its offence ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Thomaidis and the coaching staff are beginning to see promising stretches of basketball that show where the team is headed.

“Sharing the ball, getting good ball movement, lots of different people touching it and then taking advantage when we get a close out,” Thomaidis said of her team’s offensive success on Thursday. “They were playing a lot of zone today, [which meant] a lot of wide-open looks for our shooters, credit to them for knocking them down and credit to the team for finding them.”

Throughout the tournament, the team has shown great ball movement. Canada is leading all teams at the AmeriCup in both three-point percentage and field goal percentage. Konig’s 19 made three-pointers leads the tournament, while Scott’s 10 three-pointers come in second.

“We’re really emphasizing those wide-open shots,” Thomaidis said. “Those are the ones that we value the highest. It’s a matter of finding them and generating them. I thought we did a good job of that today.”

Canada also did a great job of controlling the glass. In a game where Canada shot 43 percent from the floor to 41 percent from the Dominican Republic, Canada completely dominated in the battle of the boards, out-rebounding Dominican Republic 54-28, including 24-3 on the offensive glass.

“Coming to training camp we had a lot of missing pieces that we had to kind of put together and [try to get to] know one another’s strengths and weaknesses,” Aaliyah Edwards, the youngest member of Team Canada said. “I think as we’ve moved from training camp into this tournament we’re getting a feel for our teammates and offence and defence that we’re trying to run so that we can be more successful down the road, later in the summer.”

Though Canada has been focused on taking things one game at a time, the team can feel good about the improvements made as the AmeriCup tournament has gone on.

“We’re a confident group,” Thomaidis said. “I think we believe in each other and what our team is doing. Our focus is just on us getting better each game. We’re feeling good going into the semifinal and we’re looking forward to a tough game.”

With the victory, Canada now advances to the semifinals which will be played on Friday. They await the winner of the Puerto Rico vs. Colombia game. Fans in Canada can catch all of the game action live on DAZN.