SYDNEY, Australia (Oct. 1, 2022) - The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team fell to Australia 95-65 on Friday in the third-place game at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 in Sydney, Australia.
Canada's fourth-place finish was the team's best finish at a Women’s World Cup since a third-place Finish in 1986.
“Obviously, it didn't end the way that we wanted it to, but I’m proud of this team,” Kia Nurse said. “I'm proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. We read articles and know that no one thought we’d make it out of our pool and here we are. I think it’s a tough way to end a tournament, but [we look at this like] building blocks. I’m proud of the way this team fought and I’m proud of the resilience of this team.”
Lauren Jackson scored a game-high 30 points in the victory for Australia, taking over in the third quarter where she outscored Canada 13-11 as Australia built on an eight-point halftime lead to go into the fourth leading by 17 with a 71-54 advantage.
“One of the best in the world,” Nurse said with a smile. “You know those tournaments where they have fairy-tale endings and this one had to be a fairy-tale ending, but you’re on the other side of it? All credit to her, and continuing to get herself back to where she wanted to be to play in this tournament.”
Australia got better as the game went on. After a close first half, the Australian defence held Canada to just 22 points in the second half as they broke the game open in the third and continued to roll in the fourth, outscoring Canada 24-11 in the final frame.
Jackson’s 30 came on 11-for-16 field goals in just 21 minutes of play. Steph Talbot added 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Australia and Sara Blicavs had 12 points in the win.
“Congratulations to Australia,” Team Canada head coach Víctor LaPeña said. “They played, especially the first minutes in the third period, no, for 40 minutes, with a hard mentality. Very tough and experienced. [They] played with experience to know after a tough loss yesterday that today was an amazing opportunity for them in their country to win a bronze medal. I’m not sad or angry with my players. Totally opposite of that. They did their best.”
Canada was led by a team-high 19 points for Nurse who shot 6-for-13 from the floor in the loss. “In the first half, everything was working for me," Nurse said. "There wasn’t much that was slowing me down." The tournament marked Nurse's return to the court after an 11-month rehab process following ACL surgery. “I was grateful to have the opportunity," Nurse said. "For Víctor and the team having the belief in me, in the limited minutes I was able to play. Just being able to be out there again is absolutely incredible and I'm so grateful to everybody that has helped me in that journey."
In addition to Nurse's performance, Nirra Fields added 12 points and Natalie Achonwa scored 10 points for Canada.
Australia shot 61 percent for the game and made 24-of-27 free throw attempts. In comparison, Canada shot just 39 percent from the floor and were 13-for-22 from the line.
The Australians led 27-21 after the opening quarter, using an 8-0 run to take control midway through the quarter. They would never trail again. A three-pointer for Talbot at the halftime buzzer put Australia ahead by eight heading into the break. It was in the third where Australia broke the game open behind Jackson’s 13-point quarter.
After a three from Nurse brought Canada within seven, 61-54, with 4:45 remaining in the third, Australia went on a 15-0 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter to go ahead by 21 with 8:02 remaining in the third.
They continued to roll to the victory from there as Canada simply couldn’t get the stops needed in the final quarter while Jackson scored eight points in the fourth to reach 30 points in her final game before checking out to a standing ovation from the Australian crowd with 2:22 remaining.