With a 74-40 victory over Colombia, the Canadian senior women’s national team is heading into the Women’s AmeriCup quarter-finals undefeated as the top seed in Group A.
The win was the fourth game in as many days for the Canadian team who hasn’t played together in 16 months.
“I think it’s very good to get some competition against other teams instead of ourselves,” said Shay Colley who averaged 7.5 points a game in group play.
“Just really working on what we need to for the more games to come in the next round and just trying to really focus on our style of play and gel together as a team.”
The brand-new up-tempo offence from the Canadian squad has been driven by sharpshooting efforts from their guards, leading all teams with 44 per cent from deep coming into this game, but they’ve yet to find a way to bring their bigs into the fold until today.
While the pace of the game slowed down again, the guards looked to find ways to get the ball into the post consistently on the break and found reposts after rebounds that would’ve turned into a three-point shot in the first three games. Kayla Alexander finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, Laeticia Amihere chipped in 10 points and six boards and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe added eight points and five boards.
“I think it’s getting better, definitely need to continue to go in that direction and involve them. They’re a strength of our team, for sure,” said head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “It sometimes takes a bit longer to include them in what we’re doing and just for us to recognize when and where we can get them some touches.”
After the break, only one of two obstacles remain for the Canadians – a rematch with a Brazilian team that took them down to the wire in their first game, or a meeting with the American team led by their head coach Dawn Staley and a host of NCAA standouts that went undefeated in Group B. Both teams are expected to meet on the other side of the bracket in the semi-finals.
As the top seed in Group A, Canada will face the loser of the Venezuela and Dominican Republic game on Wednesday night when the quarter-finals get underway on Thursday.
As the Canadians look forward to the Olympics, Thomaidis says they are “highly motivated” to medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but they may be without Minnesota Lynx forward Natalie Achonwa of the WNBA, who suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in her right knee on Saturday in a game against the Los Angeles Sparks.
“We’re really sad to hear about Nat getting injured, she’s an integral part of this team,” said Thomaidis. “I think right now we’re just waiting to get all the medical information we need to make a decision.”
Canada vs. Colombia BOXSCORE
Photo courtesy of FIBA