New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse scored a game-high for the second consecutive time and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe tallied a double-double as Canada Basketball’s Senior Women’s National Team got by France, 71-60. The win grants Canada a quarterfinals appearance and a two-day rest.
Canada (3-0) finishes first in Group A and will now face the winner of Wednesday’s game between host Spain and Senegal.
After an uncharacteristically slow start, Canada found itself down by as many as 15 points in the first quarter, in large part to a 13-0 run by France. Canada went on a modest 6-0 run of its own in the second to shrink the French lead to single digits, 25-16.
“The biggest thing for us was the defense coming up in the second half,” Nurse began. “Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Miranda Ayim, Nirra Fields, Natalie Achonwa… They all came up and gave us some really huge sparks on defense. That was a combination of steals, tips on passes, just guarding tough players one-on-one in tough matchups. I think that was something that translated to our great offensive push that we had, especially in the fourth quarter.”
After trailing 36-26 at halftime, Canada exploded in the second half and used a 7-0 run at the end of the frame to close the deficit to just one point. After taking the lead early in the fourth, Canada dominated the final five minutes of play with a 15-0 run to take a commanding 70-55 lead and the eventual victory.
Nurse led all scorers and finished the night with 18 points and six assists while Raincock-Ekunwe had a double-double comprised of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Through the first three games, Nurse averaged 19.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Raincock-Ekunwe has put up 10.0 points, 8.0 boards and 2.0 dimes each time around.
Following this victory, Canada will have two off days to rest and prepare to face the winner of Senegal and Spain in the quarterfinals at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018.
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