Canada’s U23 Women’s team is the lone undefeated squad at Globl Jam after a 73-56 win over the previously undefeated France.
It was back-to-back threes to start the game as Merissah Russell drained the first, and Shayeann Day-Wilson hit a deep pull-up the next possession. Russell stole the ball and grabbed an easy layup, and the tone was set – Canada’s size and skill advantage was going to be an issue for France to deal with.
Day-Wilson shrugged off the shooting woes from early in Wednesday’s game with another mid-range jumper, complete with blowing kisses to the crowd. Canada would take a 23-14 lead with Aaliyah Edwards scoring nine of her 20-point, ten rebound double-double in the first.
The attendance also grew from opening night, with the bleachers steadily filling up throughout the game for Mad Love night, a celebration of women’s basketball in Canada.
“I felt the mad love for sure,” said Edwards.
Edwards stepped back into her role as the lead scorer for Canada seamlessly as she dominated down low to open the second quarter. Canada’s shooters began to find even more open looks as France adjusted to guard her, leading to a 41-28 cushion at halftime for Canada.
With three games in the books, Edwards has emerged as one of the most dominant players in the tournament. She credits her time at UConn for her professional approach to the game and has a notable fan on Twitter hyping her game up – fellow UConn huskie Paige Bueckers.
“It’s great to have my teammates (support), especially because they’re all American,” said Edwards. “I always feel the love whenever I’m repping Team Canada.”
The pace of the game slowed coming out of halftime as France looked for ways to cut into Canada’s lead. Some sloppy passing from the Canadians led to a lull in the action for most of the third quarter as the score stagnated.
France went on a run to start the fourth to cut the lead to seven behind Janelle Salaun’s 15 points, but Canada responded late in the quarter, and Day-Wilson hit yet another dagger to sink France’s hopes of a comeback.
The win leaves Canada as the lone undefeated women’s team through the round-robin phase, and they’ll get a short one-day rest before returning to action on Saturday for the semifinals.
Canada vs. France boxscore click HERE.
Next Game: Canada vs. USA at 6pm est. on Saturday July 9
The Canadian men’s U23 team fell just short of an undefeated round-robin phase with a 79-72 loss to Italy Thursday night.
“Every team here is a good team,” said Stefan Smith. “I think we just have to understand that we need to play the full 40 (minutes) together.”
The Marcus Carr show appeared to keep rolling into the start of the game as he immediately started stuffing the stat sheet with a made field goal, two assists, and a rebound within the first three minutes of the game.
Canada began to pull away from Italy in a hurry as they mounted a 13-point first-quarter lead, with some marksmen shooting from outside coming from Quincy Guerrier, Smith, and Keeshawn Barthelemy. A slam dunk from Thomas Kennedy off a pass from Carr capped the quarter for Canada, but a late three from Italy made it 23-16 after one.
Italy began to succeed in their half-court offense in the second half, with Guglielmo Caruso scoring 14 points, Federico Zampini adding 13, and Liam Udom scoring 12 points.
Charles Bediako made an argument for dunk of the tournament as he skied high for one handed dunk to get Canada back in rhythm after a timeout, but Italy battled and limited Emanuel Miller and Carr’s impact to make it 38-32 Italy at halftime.
A miscommunication between Kennedy and Leonard Miller for a post-up opened the second half, and Canada’s offence continued to struggle while allowing Italy to go on a five-point run and force a timeout from Canadian head coach Nathanial Mitchell.
Zampini tied the game with a three-point shot mid-way through the third quarter, and the teams began a shoot out from deep, with Smith stepping up for Canada to score a team-high 17 points.
“I’ve been a shooter all my life,” said Smith. “It’s just about keep getting them up, and they’re going to fall eventually.”
Italy would take a 53-49 lead into the final quarter, where Italy would take control of the game as Canada dealt with repeated turnovers and eventually fell by seven for their first loss of the tournament.
Canada vs. Italy boxscore click HERE.
Next Game: Canada vs. USA at 9pm est. on Saturday July 9
Game 1 Belgium 63 USA 50
Game 1 Brazil 73 USA 71
Photos courtesy Faz Visions