Cana­dian women hold on, plot play­off course

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - FOOTBALL -

found Achonwa alone un­der the bas­ket for an easy two points, it put the Canada up by five with 2:53 to play.

Cuba’s Lei­dys Oquendo was fouled on a three-point at­tempt with 12 sec­onds left but missed one of her free throws, al­low­ing Ta­mara Tatham to se­cure the vic­tory with a bas­ket with six sec­onds re­main­ing.

A sold- out crowd of an es­ti­mated 3,300 fans — in­clud­ing men’s team mem­bers Sim Bhullar and Ja­mal Mur­ray and re­tired na­tional team star Teresa Gabriele — took in the game at Ry­er­son’s Mat­tamy Ath­letic Cen­tre, mak­ing for one of the largest home crowds the Cana­dian women have played in front of.

The Cana­di­ans trailed for the first time this tour­na­ment early in the open­ing quar­ter, but took a 20-18 lead into the sec­ond, and a 40-35 ad­van­tage into the dress­ing room at half­time.

Canada shot just 2-for-10 to open the third as Cuba pulled even at 45- 45 mid­way through the frame. But the Cana­di­ans dug in down the stretch and a re­bound and bucket at the buzzer by Michelle Plouffe sent Canada into the fourth up 60- 48.

The Cana­di­ans rolled over Venezuela 101-38 in their opener be­fore hold­ing off Ar­gentina 73-58. The Cubans, mean­while, beat Ar­gentina 68-55, then Venezuela 73- 62.

Canada has never won bas­ket­ball gold at the Pan Ams, on ei­ther the men’s or women’s side. The women have won one sil­ver (1999 in Win­nipeg) and three bronze.

The Pan Amer­i­can Games is just one of two huge tour­na­ments on home turf for the Cana­dian women this sum­mer. They’ll also play in the FIBA Amer­i­cas Olympic qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment next month in Ed­mon­ton.

CANADA 71

CUBA 68

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