It took lower than 5 minutes for Canada’s ladies’s basketball workforce to show Friday’s World Cup recreation versus France right into a romp.
The Canadians’ 17-0 run that straddled the second and third quarters shocked even coach Victor Lapena.
“17? I didn’t know,” Lapena mentioned, with raised eyebrows, within the post-game press convention. “Improbable.”
Nirra Fields scored 17 factors, whereas Kayla Alexander had a game-high 14 rebounds plus 9 factors and the Canadians (2-0) beat France 59-45 to stay the one undefeated workforce in Group B.
Shay Colley added 11 factors for the Canadians, who by no means trailed and led by as many as 20 factors.
“We performed actually good workforce basketball as we speak, particularly on the defensive finish, we have been actually locked in on the sport plan, what the coaches requested of us,” Alexander mentioned.
Gabby Williams scored 13 factors to high France.
The Canadians’ victory got here two days after a 67-60 win over Serbia, and all however clinches a spot within the quarterfinals as the highest 4 groups in every group advance. A excessive end within the preliminary spherical, and a major level differential, can be key to avoiding the People within the knockout spherical.
No. 6 France, in the meantime, was developing a 67-59 upset of third-ranked Australia, however appeared nothing like that victorious workforce in opposition to a smothering Canadian defence.
“I like that we change up our defences as a result of it throws the opponents off monitor normally, it might get them out of their rhythm and it simply reveals as a workforce that we’re locked in and that we’re in a position to truly execute when coach throws one thing else on the market,” Alexander mentioned.
“So, I truly like having the ability to combine it up and throwing one thing completely different at our opponents, attempting to get them up off their ft a bit.”
It was the second stable recreation from the 31-year-old Alexander, who led Canada in scoring in opposition to Serbia with 13 factors. Her hustle on the boards on Friday noticed Canada outrebound France 56-38.
“I do know I’m not a really vocal particular person. I’m extra of a quiet chief,” Alexander mentioned.
“I attempt to lead by instance, however to know that you’ve coaches and teammates that belief in you and consider in you, it means rather a lot. I’m very grateful.”
WNBA participant Kayla Alexander displays on walkouts
Phoenix Mercury guard Kia Nurse had seven factors, together with 5 within the first 5 minutes, as she continues her comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her proper knee nearly a yr in the past.
Lapena, who was employed in January after Canada’s disappointing preliminary-round exit on the Tokyo Olympics, was thrilled together with his workforce’s defensive effort, however wish to see an enchancment on the offensive finish.
“I feel as a coach I wish to… give them the instruments to attain no less than 10 extra factors,” the Spaniard mentioned. “We have now gamers with factors of their fingers.
“I’ve to consider, to check our potentialities to provide them the instruments… to take pleasure in extra offence.”
Canada shot simply 29 per cent from the sector and 30 per cent from three-point vary. France shot 37 per cent, however went simply 3-for-19 — 16 per cent — from behind the arc.
Each groups struggled to attain in an unsightly first quarter that noticed the Canadians race out to an early six-point lead and lead 15-9 to begin the second.
The Canadians discovered their offensive groove late within the half, ending with a 9-0 run within the ultimate 1:45 punctuated by a three-pointer from Bridget Carleton. Fields’ driving layup with 15 seconds left despatched Canada into the halftime break with a 29-17 lead.
The Canadians opened the second half with an 8-0 run, capped with a three-pointer from Colley that noticed Canada take a 20-point lead. France sliced the distinction to 13 factors late within the third quarter, however Fields’ driving layup put Canada up 45-30 with one quarter to play.
The French battled again to inside 11 factors late within the fourth quarter, however that was as shut as they’d come.
Canada takes on Japan (1-1), the reigning Olympic silver medallists, on Sunday. Requested what can be key to beating the Japanese, Lapena mentioned he and his workers will meet to brainstorm defensive methods.
“The gamers are going to be tremendous drained the following day so… we are going to make it simpler for them to execute, and they’re doing an awesome job, an awesome job on defence and the perspective is ideal,” the coach mentioned.
Japan crushed Mali 89-56 of their opener earlier than dropping a 69-64 determination to Serbia.
The Canadians face Australia on Monday and Mali on Tuesday to wrap up the preliminary spherical.
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