SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (June 14, 2021) -- The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team dominated from beginning to end in a 98-41 victory over El Salvador on Monday at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021. This was the third straight victory for Canada at the tournament.
“We had a lot of open looks,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “We’re really working on getting open shots. Getting great shots. We’re committed to that process.”
Canada was led by a 21-point performance from guard Shaina Pellington. Her 21 points came on just six field goal attempts as she finished 5-for-6 from the floor, making both of her three-point attempts, as well as 9 of 10 free throws.
“She’s a great athlete,” Thomaidis said of Pellington. “She’s explosive. She can get out and score in transition, I think you’re seeing a lot of that right now. We’re fortunate. She’s playing well. We’re really leaning on her heavily to create for others as well. As a point guard there’s a lot of room for growth in her game, but she’s certainly performing well right now and we’re happy for that.”
All 11 players who logged time for Canada scored in the game as the team finished shooting 62 percent from the floor and 41 percent from beyond the arc. Aislinn Konig scored 14 points in the win, while Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe added 11 and Sami Hill scored 10. On the other end of the floor, Canada’s defence helped hold El Salvador to 25 percent shooting, including 16 percent from three. Aida Elizabeth Funes Gonzalez had 14 points and Kimberly Villalobos added 12 points for El Salvador in the loss.
Canada never trailed in the game, jumping out to an 11-2 lead. Thomaidis tried out various lineup combinations on Monday, using 11 players in the opening quarter. After the first 10 minutes, Canada held a 20-10 lead. The Canadians continued to push the pace in the second quarter, while increasing their defensive pressure, holding El Salvador to just two points in the quarter as they went into the halftime with a 30-point advantage, ahead 42-12.
“We’re getting there,” Thomaidis said of the team’s newly implemented offence. “It’s going to take some time. We’re really trying to find a balance between playing with pace and yet still getting some touches with our forwards. I think we can sometimes get lulled into dribble drives and the ball not getting inside, but we really need to make sure we’re getting some touches inside. We have some great athletes that can score from there and can score in a one-on-one situation so it’s finding the right balance right now.”
The Canadians began to find their groove from deep in the second half as the team’s first three baskets in the third quarter were three-pointers. Team Canada went on to outscore El Salvador 27-17 in the third to take a decisive 69-29 lead into the fourth where they continued to roll to victory.
This was Canada’s third victory in as many days. The opportunity to have a tournament like the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021 before the team heads to Tokyo for the Olympics hasn’t been taken for granted.
“[These games are] huge,” Thomaidis said. “We haven’t played together in 16 months so any game is such an opportunity for us. Definitely much needed. We need to find our groove again, we need to get into our rhythm. We have some new players [on our roster]. So they’re very, very valuable games for us.”
Up next for the Canadians is a meeting with Colombia on Tuesday at 3:10 p.m. ET. Fans in Canada can catch all of the action live on DAZN.