SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (June 19, 2021) -- The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team dropped a hard fought 87-82 double-overtime loss to Brazil in the bronze-medal game at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021. After coming back from a 15-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, Canada stumbled in the second overtime and Brazil took advantage to get the victory and place third overall in the tournament.
Laeticia Amihere had a game-high 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds to lead Canada in the loss as she banked in a three-pointer to force overtime. Kayla Alexander scored 13 points, Shaina Pellington had 12 points and Aislinn Konig narrowly missed out on a double-double with 11 points and eight assists. Brazil was led by 19-point performances from Taina Paixao and Clarissa Dos Santos.
“These close games are really a gift for us to be in, to be honest,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “We’re certainly disappointed we didn't come out on the winning end, but it shows a lot about our team. They fought hard, hard, hard. They showed a lot of passion, a lot of grit today.
“We were down 15 going into the fourth and fought all the way back to send it to overtime and we had a couple of chances to win it,” Thomaidis continued. “I’m really proud of them. They played hard. We’re only two and a half weeks into training camp and then coming to a competition like this, we’re really early on in our preparation and this is going to really identify some gaps and really help us get better because of this.”
After leading by five at the half, Canada’s offence stalled in the third. Struggling to score, the team also was a step slow getting back defensively and got outscored by Brazil 29-9 in the quarter. With their backs against the wall, Canada opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run and then reeled off a 7-0 run shortly after to get within three points with 3:29 remaining. A banked three-point shot from Amihere with 27 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game and sent things into overtime. Though Canada was able to stick with Brazil in the first overtime, they finally ran out of gas in the second.
The 19-year-old Amihere had a fantastic tournament on both ends of the floor. She finished averaging 13 points and 7.7 rebounds in six games.
“Honestly, she’s such a competitor,” Thomaidis said. “Like a number of these players, she’s just tough and she competes and again, she hit the three-point shot that tied the game to send it into overtime. [She’s] fearless. And she’s so young and certainly doesn't play like she’s a young one. We’re certainly happy with how she did in this tournament.”
Canada finished the game shooting 40 percent from the floor, but struggled at the free throw line for the second straight game, making just 8-of-17 shots (47 percent). Down the stretch of regulation, as well as in the extra sessions, those missed free throws loom large.
Getting the chance to go through late-game situations and compete against actual competition rather than each other in training camp was huge for a group that has been apart for nearly 16 months prior to the AmeriCup. Though the group dropped its final two games of the tournament, there was plenty of good to take away from the last week of competition.
“Obviously it’s disappointing losing two in a row but we learned a lot and there’s a lot to look forward to,” Jamie Scott said. “Obviously, the Olympics this summer, but also the next step in our journey at Worlds in Australia. I think the future is very bright and I'm definitely excited for it.”
The team will now return to Florida where they will continue training and preparation for the Tokyo Olympics later this summer.