Australia hand Canada their first FIBA Basketball World Cup loss
Host Australia handed the Canadian women’s basketball team their first loss at the FIBA World Cup on Monday.
Ezi Magbegor scored 16 points as the Australians outscored Canada 75-72
Nirra Fields scored a team-high 17 points for Canada, while Bridget Carleton scored 16 and Kia Nurse added 11.
Kayla Alexander had four points and 11 rebounds for Canada, which led 57-51 after three quarters.
The victory caused a stalemate atop Group B with Australia, Canada and France all on three wins with one game to play for each team.
READ MORE: Canada remain undefeated at FIBA Women’s World Cup with 59-45 win over France
Canada beat France 59-45 earlier in the tournament.
« We knew it would be a tough group for us, » Magbegor said. “Everything would matter to us. We’ll have another tough one tomorrow against Japan.
Nurse had a three-point shot that gave Canada a 63-60 lead just over three minutes into the final quarter. It was Canada’s last lead as Australia employed a stifling defense to get away from the Canadians.
Magbegor recorded four of his five shot blocks in the final five minutes.
“They just played really good team defense towards the end and we made a few mistakes and they really punished us for that,” Fields said.
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« Overall it was a good game and we really fought. »
Despite the loss, Canadian coach Victor Lapena was pleased with his team’s performance in front of a raucous Australian crowd.
“We dominated the game in two periods and Australia dominated the game in two periods. In the end, we lost by three points. We were very close and it is very important for our future because today we gained experience in this kind of atmosphere,” said Lapena.
« I’m sure in the future, when we have these kinds of games or moments, we will be better and solve some situations that today we haven’t solved in a smart way. »
The Canadians trailed by five in the opening minutes, but closed the first quarter with a 15-5 run, and Shay Colley’s three-pointer at the buzzer propelled them into the second with a 25-14 lead. .
Canada extended their lead to 14, but a 19-0 run put Australia up 38-33 at halftime.
Magbegor and Tess Madgen each collected six points during the race.
« I knew (Ezi) would have his kind of game and I didn’t know when it would be, » said Australian Sami Whitcomb, who had 15 points.
« It was huge for us tonight, I’m so proud of her. She showed up when we needed her in the most time.
Canada will close the preliminary round against Mali without a win on Tuesday.
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