Nurse contributed 12 points to Canada’s offensive output.
Venezuela was first on the board, but the opening quarter belonged to Canada thereafter. The Canadians put together a 6-0 run to end the first quarter and led 21-8 after 10 minutes of play. The South American squad found its footing in the second frame and mounted an energized response. Canada outscored the opposition 16-11, but it was clear that Venezuela was gathering itself for a push back.
That offensive outburst came in the third quarter as the Venezuelan side kept pace with Team Canada. The teams traded opportunities as both sides consistently found the basket. The SWNT edged Venezuela 21-20 in the period to hold a 58-39 advantage.
Canada’s depth proved to be the difference in the final frame. Team Venezuela could not keep up with the Red and White reserves as the Canadians’ tight defence and offensive prowess came together to close-out the contest. Canada tallied 31 points in the game’s closing 10 minutes while holding the opposition to six.
All 12 Canadians found their way onto the score sheet, led by Sarnia, Ont. native Kendel Ross who notched 16 points in 16 efficient minutes on the court. In addition to Nurse, two other players reached double-digits as Natalie Achonwa (Guelph) and Kim Gaucher (Mission, B.C.) recorded 12 points each. Tamara Tatham of Brampton led all rebounders with eight as Canada finished with a 55-25 rebounding advantage, including a 21-7 margin on the offensive end.
Canada continued the solid team play they have shown throughout the competition by registering 21 assists on 35 made-baskets.
Team Canada’s focus now shifts to its next game. When asked about the upcoming match-up, head coach Lisa Thomaidis of Dundas noted, “The game against Cuba has the potential to be intense. Our focus will be to take care of the ball and to contain their guard play on the defensive end. Both teams know the advantage that comes with being at the top of the pool. We’re going to leave it all on the floor – we want the win.”
The SWNT will finish the preliminary round on Wednesday. Cuba and Canada hold identical 3-0 records. The winner of the match will finish pool play atop the Group A standings. The game can be seen live on NBA TV Canada.