Canada edges Ja­pan to win U19 bronze

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

UDINE, ITALY — Laeti­cia Ami­here had 13 points and 10 re­bounds to lead Canada to a 67-60 vic­tory over Ja­pan for the bronze medal at the FIBA un­der-19 women’s World Cup on Sun­day.

It was the Cana­dian women’s first medal at the U19 level. Canada’s se­nior women’s bas­ket­ball team fin­ished third twice at world cham­pi­onships (1979 and 1986) while the U19 men’s team earned its first gold medal at the World Cup in Egypt ear­lier this month.

“We are so happy to be leav­ing here with the bronze medal,” said Canada’s cap­tain Alyssa Jerome. “It was a tough game as Ja­pan put up a re­ally great bat­tle. We all wanted to leave here with a medal, so we worked re­ally hard to do that.”

Hai­ley Brown of Hamil­ton added 12 points, and Hanna Hall chipped in with 10 for the fourth-ranked Cana­di­ans, who were knocked out of con­tention for gold with a semi­fi­nal loss to Rus­sia on Sat­ur­day. Ja­pan lost its semi to the de­fend­ing cham­pion United States, which was to play Rus­sia for gold later Sun­day.

“In­cred­i­bly proud of this team and this ac­com­plish­ment,” said coach Carly Clarke. “Fol­low­ing a tough loss last night, it’s some­times hard to bounce back within a day. But our girls showed tremen­dous re­silience, pride and de­ter­mi­na­tion to show up ready to go to­day.”

Hi­mawari Akaho led third-ranked Ja­pan with 13 points and 10 boards. Haruki Taka­hara also had 13 points and Kiho Miyashita added 12.

Canada led 14-10 af­ter one quar­ter thanks to a buzzer-beat­ing three-pointer from Hall, and took a 33-27 lead into half­time on an­other buzzer-beat­ing three, this one from Jerome.

Ja­pan scored 18 points in the third, which ended with an­other three-pointer at the buzzer from Ken­dra Van Leeuwen to give Canada a 50-45 lead head­ing into the fi­nal frame.

Canada shot 43.1 per cent from the field and sank 6-of-17 from three-point range. The Cana­di­ans out­re­bounded Ja­pan 42-38.

“We did a tremen­dous job de­fend­ing Ja­pan and that re­ally fed into our of­fen­sive game,” Clarke said. “We got back to mov­ing and shar­ing the ball, play­ing in­side out­side. It truly was a com­plete team ef­fort to bring home the bronze medal.

“I’m ex­tremely proud of this ac­com­plish­ment for th­ese ath­letes. They have worked so hard, put so much time and ef­fort and they 100 per cent earned it.”

Canada’s ear­lier best fin­ish at the U19 women’s tour­na­ment was a fourth-place fin­ish in 2009.

TWIT­TER

Cana­dian women won bronze Sun­day for the first time, at the world U19 bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onship.

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