Nirra Fields scored a game-high 22 points along with eight rebounds in leading Canada to a 68-60 win over Argentina on Friday to advance to the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup semifinals in Léon, Mexico.
Aaliyah Edwards added 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds and Shay Colley had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Canada.
The Canadians now have a date set with the U.S. — which defeated Colombia 68-49 in quarterfinal action earlier Friday — on Saturday for a shot at making it into Sunday’s final.
“I feel so happy,” Fields said. “I’m really proud of my team. We fought until the end. We played great defence.
“Our offence wasn’t working and we just kept trying to get steals, trying to play tough defence, and we played until the end. I’m really happy for them.”
Julieta Mungo led Argentina with 12 points, with Melisa Gretter adding 11 and Candela Gentinetta finishing with 10 off the bench.
“It was a tough game,” said Canada head coach Victor Lapena. “Argentina is an amazing, competitive team.
“I think maybe in the first period and the third period we played Argentina pace. When we learned how to play against them, we found the spaces we needed to create good basketball.”
Argentina jumped out to a 6-0 advantage — its largest lead in the game — to start the contest and led 20-18 by the end of the first quarter. But Canada turned things around in the second frame, outscoring Argentina 20-10 to take a 38-30 lead.
Argentina trimmed the deficit to make it a 54-51 game entering the fourth quarter. With 2:33 remaining in the game, Gretter capped a personal run of five straight points with a three-pointer to pull Argentina within four, 64-60.
Just over a minute later, Fields pushed the lead to six with a jumper and a steal from Sami Hill led to a pair of game-sealing free throws from Edwards with just 33.3 seconds remaining.
Canada entered Friday’s quarterfinals having finished atop Group B with a 4-0 record. Brazil topped Group A also having a 4-0 record and defeated host Mexico 83-61 on Friday to book its ticket into the other semifinal against Puerto Rico.
The U.S. went 3-1 in Group A play, dropping its lone contest to Brazil 67-54 on Tuesday.
With the U.S. already qualified for the Paris Games, the top-performing squad at the AmeriCup — featuring 10 teams — will automatically advance to the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in February 2024.
The following three best teams will compete in the regional FIBA Women’s Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournaments in November.
- #1 Aislinn Konig — Langley, B.C.
- #2 Shay Colley — Brampton, Ont.
- #4 Sami Hill — Toronto
- #12 Syla Swords — Sudbury, Ont.
- #21 Nirra Fields — Montreal
- #30 Taya Hanson — Kelowna, B.C.
- #3 Merissah Russell — Ottawa
- #8 Cassandre Prosper — Montreal
- #9 Yvonne Ejim — Calgary
- #24 Aaliyah Edwards — Kingston, Ont.
- #10 Emily Potter — Winnipeg
- #14 Kayla Alexander — Milton, Ont.
Source : CBC