September 25, 2022 – Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Minnesota Lynx Press Release
SYDNEY, Australia — Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team beat Japan 70-56 to remain undefeated at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 and secure a berth in the quarter-finals.
Canada was led by a performance of 19 points from Bridget Carleton, 13 points from Shay Colley and 10 points, six rebounds and five assists from Laeticia Amihere. Kayla Alexander added 11 rebounds and Nirra Fields had nine points.
Maki Takada led Japan with 11 points in the loss.
“It was a big game for us,” said Carleton. “Obviously we played against Japan in February, we had a big lead and they ended up forcing them into extra time and we ended up losing. It was kind of in our head today but, again once was good to win. They’re a tough team, they’re hard to play against, they’re quick, they like to shoot three balls so it’s a tough game, [so it’s] definitely good to come away with the win. And it feels good to see some hits coming for me.”
Carleton shot 8 for 14 from the floor, including 2 for 5 from beyond the arc while adding six rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 32 minutes of action.
She scored Canada’s first five points of the game after the team went scoreless until 6:04 of the first quarter. The Canadians quickly overcame the slow start to take the lead after a pair of free throws from Amihere with 3:53 left in the quarter.
The Canadian defense ignited their attack and a layup for Kia Nurse extended the lead to five before Amihere grabbed an offensive rebound and found Fields for a three to put Canada ahead by eight after the first 10 minutes .
After a strong start to Japan’s second quarter, Stephanie Mawuli’s free throws brought Japan within three points with 4:36 left at halftime. From there, Canada took full control of the match, finishing the half on a 13-0 streak to take a 16, 41-25 lead at the break.
Canada shot 45% in the half while their defense helped hold Japan to just 29% shooting, while also forcing 10 turnovers. Amihere was everywhere in the first two quarters, registering five assists and five rebounds to go with six points at the break.
“I think we had control of the game the whole time, except maybe the last few minutes when they were super tired,” said Team Canada head coach Víctor LaPeña. “For that, I’m very proud of my players because we’re growing as a team. They have a lot of faith in me and the coaches and that means I can think about how we can win. [against] Japan does this, this and that, and they try to execute perfectly.
“Just congratulations to my players because today was a masterclass in having control of the game and that’s because they are very ready to do it,” LaPeña continued.
Canada outscored Japan 48-34 and held a 17-10 advantage in second chance points and an 11-7 advantage in steals.
Alexander opened the second half with a lay-up to extend Canada’s lead to 18. After a Colley jumper, Canada led by 20. Monica Okoye’s straight three brought Japan within 15, but Canada continued to score, closing the quarter on a 9-0 run – with Carleton scoring seven of nine – to move into the fourth-leading 61-39.
After Japan opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to get under 15, Canada called a timeout with 7:48 left. For the third game in a row, Team Canada showed composure when their opponent attempted a push. Carleton once again hit the jackpot for Canada, scoring her second three of the game after Achonwa found her outside the arc to extend the lead to 18. Japan, Canada’s lead was never in doubt in the final quarter.
Canada will face host team Australia on Monday at 6:30 a.m. ET in front of a crowd of passionate fans who support the home team. Canada is determined not to let this affect its game plan.
“Every game we go to, we think we can win,” Carleton said. “We think we should win. Our target is always to be on the podium, so that’s exactly where we want to be. 3-0. We’ll enjoy it, but rest and recover tonight because we’re in for it. have a [Monday] again against the home crowd in a difficult environment.”
• Discuss this story on the Women’s National Basketball Association message board…
The views expressed in this release are those of the organization that issued it and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.