Canada’s U23 women’s squad kicked off GLOBL JAM in style with a nail-biting 65-53 win over Belgium.
“It’s a full circle moment,” said Aailyah Edwards, who led all scorers with 22 points and 12 rebounds. “I’m just cherishing it because I was in (younger teammates) position not too long ago.”
Shaina Pellington dove into the paint and dumped it off to Edwards for the first points of the game, and it was a grind the rest of the way. Canada briefly pulled ahead on a Merissah Russell three pointer, but Belgium would find their answers by heading into the paint and creating contact for fouls.
With fouls beginning to shorten the bench, mistakes started to pile up for the Canadians early and Belgium took a 20-12 lead towards the end of the first quarter off an unsportsmanlike foul that sent Nastja Claessens to the free throw line.
Pellington once again opened the scoring in the second and Edwards followed shortly after with a turnaround jumper in the post.
Pellington had 13 points, four rebounds and two assists on the night.
Canada’s scoring woes began to show again soon after as they found chances but failed to convert at the rim multiple times and shot just 28 per cent from the field in the first fifteen minutes.
Edwards began to take over in the second half and would lead all scorers with a 22 point, 12 rebound double-double the rest of the way, giving Belgium fits from the midrange and in the low post.
“(I’m trying to communicate) basketball IQ, I think as Canadians we’re competitive but what we need to highlight is how smart we play basketball,” said Edwards.
Canada found their stride late in the second quarter, with Pellington scoring six straight points to tie the game. Edwards gave Canada the lead at the line and Belgium’s play began to fall apart as the Canadian’s locked in defensively, leading Canada to a 32-29 lead at half time.
After the half, Lore Devos tied the game for Belgium and Canada’s offence once again sputtered without Edwards, Pellington or Day-Wilson in the game. All three checked back into the game around the four-minute mark and the tides of the game began to change in Canada’s favour as Day-Wilson and Edwards went to work once again.
Day-Wilson knocked down a step back three to open the fourth to give Canada their biggest lead of the night and ended the night with 18 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Philipina Kyei went down after taking a stray elbow to the head in the fourth quarter but was able to leave the court without help. Canada went small in her absence and Edwards knocked down another midrange jumper in the first possession back and Day-Wilson drilled a deep three from the Sportsnet logo to all but put the game away.
The GLOBL JAM format doesn’t leave much room for rest as the Canadians will face the American representatives Virginia Commonwealth University Wednesday July 6th at 6 p.m. on Sportsnet.
Canada vs. Belgium Boxscore click HERE.
The Canadian U23 men’s team protected homecourt in their first match up at GLOBL JAM with a 89-75 win over Brazil.
G League Ignite forward, Leonard Miller who is also the must watch prospect for Canada’s U23 team got Canada going with a midrange jumper. From tip off, Canada’s advantage in athleticism was clear, but Brazil countered with a more balanced half-court offence to keep them within striking distance early.
Rafael Rachel hit a turnaround three pointer at the end of the first, but Miller dominated early as Canada took had a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter, ending up with 11 points, four rebounds and four assists as he took a facilitator role the rest of the game. Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors watched from his baseline seat as well. This is the second time Ujiri has gotten eyes on Miller this year, also seeing him at the Biosteel All-Canadian Basketball Game.
Kur Jongkuch kept the high-flying Canadians going with an alley-oop to start the second, and Miller followed up with one of his own to tie the game up once again. Quincy Guerrier had a dunk of his own that brought the crowd to its feet but drew a technical foul for his celebration.
Brazil was led by Rachel who had 15 points and Yago Dos Santos who had 20, and it wasn’t until the end of the first half that Canada was able to put some distance between themselves and Brazil as they took a 45-37 lead into the locker room.
After half time, Brazil picked up the pace of the game and they began to give Canada issues offensively once again. Elijah Miller had 19 points, Marcus Carr had 14 and U SPORTS prospect Thomas Kennedy had nine points and six rebounds.
Back-to-back buckets from Dos Santos gave Brazil the lead midway through the fourth quarter but the run was cut short by Canada aggressively attacking the basket and putting the game out of reach at the foul line.
Canada will back in action again tomorrow as they take on the American representatives Baylor Bears men’s basketball team in one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the event. The game can be seen on Sportsnet Wednesday July 6th at 9 p.m. EST.
Canada vs. Brazil Boxscore click HERE.