Carleton’s 27-point effort leads Canada to dominating win over Mali at FIBA Basketball World Cup
Bridget Carleton had 27 points to lead the Canadian women’s basketball team to an 88-65 win over Mali at the FIBA Basketball World Cup on Tuesday.
The victory secured a crucial top-two spot in Group B for the Canadians, who will avoid both the United States (5-0) and China (4-1) in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Kayla Alexander had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Canadians (4-1) in their final game of the preliminary round. Kia Nurse and Aislinn Konig added 11 points each.
Carleton, a forward for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, also grabbed eight rebounds.
« I love seeing the confidence that everyone now sees (in) Bridget Carleton, » said Canadian captain Natalie Achonwa, who also plays for the Lynx. « She’s always been explosive. She’s always been a shooter and a scorer, but she’s really embraced this moment and our need for her to fill that role. And I’m glad to see that the world can also see who I’m knew Bridget Carleton had been there the whole time. »
WATCH | Carleton propels Canada ahead of Mali:
Canada’s next opponent still unknown
Canada’s quarter-final opponent was to be determined by Tuesday’s subsequent matches.
Carleton opened the game with three straight points and Canada never trailed, building a 17-point first-quarter lead over Mali, who came on as a last-minute substitute for Nigeria. The Canadians led by 24 points at halftime and took a 24-point lead in the fourth quarter.
« I was really happy with the way we approached the game, » Achonwa said. « These are the kind of games that can make you catch up. Fifth game in six days. The mentality we had to respect our opponents and do our best was shown today. »
The Canadians’ lone defeat in Group B ended in the host of Australia. They beat Serbia, France and Japan.
The semi-finals are on Friday and the medal games on Saturday.
Canada has two bronze medals at the Women’s World Cup, in 1979 and 1986.