Hamilton trio play key roles in Canada’s first win

The Canadian Cadette Women’s National Team played tough defense as they held Belgium (2-1) to shoot only 23 percent from the field, winning their first game at the FIBA U17 World Championship, 50-45. Canada improved its record to 1-2 in the tournament.

“It was great to get a win under our belt. Our team put together an unbelievable defensive effort and held the tournament leading scorer to single digits,” said head coach, Carly Clarke. “We literally got contributions from all 12 players, and hopefully this will create some momentum for us as we move forward in the tournament.”

Emma Wolfram led Canada with a game-high 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Saicha Grant-Allen of Hamilton grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in the game.

“This was our first team win at the World Championship, and we battled for forty minutes to earn it. Our team defense was the difference, as well as composure,” said Canadian guard Kia Nurse of Hamilton. “Moving forward, we would like to see us improve our ability to make shots and we are looking forward to a day off to recover and see Amsterdam, and will be ready to come back and win.”

In the opening quarter of play, Canada and Belgium were involved in a tight affair with the largest lead in the quarter being four points. Canada’s Christina Buttenham of Hamilton hit a late 3-pointer to give Canada the 15-14 advantage after the opening ten minutes.

Both teams stepped up their defense in the second quarter as both had a hard time scoring. Canada finished with eight points in the quarter and Belgium finished with six points. Belgium hit two late free throws to cut the deficit to Canada to three points at the half, 23-20. In the first half, Canada shot 24 percent from the field, while Belgium shot 13 percent.

The defensive affair continued in the third quarter with Canada holding Belgium to only five points in the frame. Canada entered the fourth quarter with a 34-25 lead. Canada extended their lead to eleven points early in the fourth. Belgium made one last push and cut the deficit to four points, but that was as close as Belgium would get, as Canada went on to win.