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Canada basketball
Holly MacKenzie

Canada falls to Australia, puts Olympic qualification hopes on pause

3X3 Women


May 5, 2024

UTSUNOMIYA, (May 4, 2024) - Canada’s 3x3 Women’s National Team dropped a 19-16 nail-biter to Australia in the women’s final at the FIBA 3x3 Universality Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Utsunomiya, Japan on Sunday.

With a spot at the Paris Olympics on the line, the Canadians fell to Australia for the second time in as many days despite six points and seven rebounds from Katherine Plouffe and eight rebounds from Michelle Plouffe. Canada also dropped a 21-16 decision to Australia in group play on Saturday.

Alex Wilson and Marena Whittle scored eight points apiece in the final for Australia, who finished 7-for-9 from the free throw line where they closed out the victory with a pair of free throws from Wilson with 5.6 seconds remaining.

The final game was a battle from start to finish with nine ties and neither team leading by more than three points. A bucket from Katherine with 33 seconds remaining brought Canada within a point, 17-16, but after the final pair of free throws from Wilson, a final-second two-point attempt from Michelle was blocked.

Earlier in the day, Canada advanced to the final after taking down Germany 18-12 in the semifinal behind a seven-point, six-rebound effort from Katherine and six points from Paige Crozon. Michelle recorded four highlights in the game, finishing with five points, three rebounds and three key assists.

After a close start, Crozon helped Canada pull away by scoring on an offensive putback and then making a two-pointer to give Canada a 9-5 advantage with 6:15 remaining. Germany trimmed Canada’s advantage to just a point, 13,12, with under three minutes remaining, but Kacie Bosch found Katherine cutting to the hoop for a layup. Canada’s defence forced a shot-clock violation on Germany and Crozon hit her second two of the game to push Canada’s advantage back to four points with 1:50 remaining as Canada went on to victory.

Crozon finished the tournament leading all scorers in points (33), as well as two-pointers made (10). Michelle finished first in highlights (15), key assists (10), and rebounds (29).

After Canada’s victory against Germany in the semifinals, Crozon spoke about the impact the Plouffe sisters have had on her game.

“They’re winners in their mannerisms, how they approach the offseason, their resiliency, their nutrition, their work ethic,” Crozon said. “I’ve just been following their blueprint for the past five years and I’m trying to be like them. Trying to be great.”

While Australia earned the lone ticket to the Paris Olympics in this tournament, Canada will have another chance to secure their spot when they head to Debrecen, Hungary for the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this month. Three spots for Paris will be up for grabs at the tournament which will feature 16 teams battling it out from May 16-19.