The Women’s AmeriCup is as much of a tune-up for the Olympics this year as it is for qualifying for the FIBA World Cup, and the 14th ranked Brazilian team just gave us a good look at where the Canadian senior women’s national team is after 16 months off.
Game two for the Canadian team couldn’t be much different from the first. In the 71-67 win over the Brazilians, the pace of the game slowed down to a crawl and Brazil hammered the paint feeding Erika De Souza and Tainá Paixão the ball early, but it was 33-year-old Clarissa Dos Santos who became an issue for in the second quarter scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
“That was such a good game for us to challenge ourselves against a tough Brazil team,” said Canadian head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “We’re not at that place where we’re seamless right now, where they take away our first option and we can get into our next one. So I thought we ground to a halt, and again, full credit to Brazil for that.
That’ll be really good for us we’ll learn from this and take it forward.”
Canada showcased its signature tough defence, going blow for blow with the Brazilians in the second quarter and with 19.8 seconds remaining Canada forced a bad shot out of Patty Texiera’s hands and secured the win with a made free throw from Nirra Fields, who led all scorers for the Canadians with 17 points.
“We really had to buckle down and today’s game to get this one in the win column and that was great to see. We held our composure, we made shots when we needed to and got stops when we needed to. These are the ones we loved to be in before we move on, these are the ones we’ll learn the most from.”
Brazilian head coach José Neto said the Brazilian team didn’t lose the game, but Canada won it, and that he was proud of his team for not giving up against the fourth-ranked team in the world.
The Canadian bench chipped in 28 points with 10 coming from veteran centre Kayla Alexander and the collegiate players who represent the future of the Canadian team stepping up for the second straight game. Arizona’s Shaina Pellington brought an early spark off the bench with eight points and South Carolina’s Laeticia Amihere had 11 points taking her Gamecock teammate Kamilla Silva into the post repeatedly.
“A lot of energy and lot of passion, and a lot of confidence to be quite honest,” said Thomaidis. “They’re not out there scared of anyone or anything and that’s been fun to watch. They’re ready to contribute, and they want to and they’re not afraid to make a play.
That really bodes well for us, I think they’re going to grow a lot over the course of this tournament and the next month that we’re together.”
Canada will now look forward to facing winless El Salvador Monday at 12:20 p.m. est. on DAZN Canada.
Canada vs. Brazil BOXSCORE