Canada defeats Puerto Rico at Four Nations

Daqing, China – The Senior Women’s National Team wrapped-up the first leg of the Four Nations Women’s Basketball Tournament with a 64-45 victory over Puerto Rico on Sunday (July 7). The win gives Canada a 2-1 record in the six-game competition. The team will now travel to Nanjing where it will once again play Brazil, China and Puerto Rico over the course of three days.

Women's Basketball VS. Poland
Canada played some of its best basketball this summer, said coach Lisa Thomaidis. (Photo: CIS/Freestyle Photography)

Canada came out ready to play in the opening quarter. A quick-strike offence and solid team play propelled Canada to 15 points in the first five minutes. However, leads are not built on offence alone. Team Canada showed a strong commitment to its own end throughout the first 10 minutes while building a commanding 25-5 lead. The second quarter continued in the same fashion as the SWNT carefully crafted a 41-12 halftime advantage.

The second half told a different tale as Puerto Rico found its footing and pushed back. A fairly even quarter saw the opposition begin to take control of the tempo of the game. Canada managed 14 points in the frame, but the Puerto Rican side notched 16 to surpass its entire first half output. Buoyed by their third quarter performance, Team Puerto Rico came-on strong in the game’s final ten minutes, but Canada held on for the victory.

When asked about the team’s play, head coach and Dundas native Lisa Thomaidis, a native of Dundas, said, “Today we responded really well after a tough loss to china yesterday. We came out with a convincing win against Puerto Rico. Our play in the first half at both ends of the floor was some of the best team basketball we’ve played this summer. Both Lizanne Murphy and Kim Smith had solid games shooting from beyond the three-point line. Overall, it was a really good team win.”

Orleans, Ont. native Courtnay Pilypaitis led Canada’s balanced attack with 13 points on an efficient 5-for-7 shooting performance. Tamara Tatham, playing in her 101st game with Team Canada, notched 10 points and five rebounds. Beaconsfield, Que. product Lizanne Murphy finished with a game-high ten rebounds to go with eight points. The game’s statistics can be viewed here.

Murphy appreciates the victory, but still sees room for improvement. “That was a good win for us because three games in three days is always tough and we came ready to go. It also shows we have some things to work on because Puerto Rico was very physical in the second half, so we can still learn from this game. Overall, we executed well tonight.”

Following two days for training and travel, Canada will face Brazil on Wednesday (July10) to begin the second leg of the Four Nations Women’s Basketball Tournament in Nanjing. Brazil owns a 1-2 record, including a tournament-opening 63-46 loss to the SWNT.