Canadian women hold on, plot playoff course
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.