If Canada’s men’s national team disappointed in the FIBA World Cup, then Canada’s women’s national team is out to avenge those losses. Through four games in the AmeriCup, Canada is leading Group A, winning every game by double digits.
Despite playing only 21.8 minutes per game (Canada is seriously blowing out opponents, winning by an average of 37 points per game), Kayla Alexander is scoring 17.8 points per game on 71.4 percent from the field. The Chicago Sky center is trouncing opponents, even leading the tournament in rebounds per game, with 11.3. Sami Hill has chipped in 6.3 assists per game, and Minnesota Lynx guard Bridget Carleton is leading the tournament with 3.0 steals per game. Though Alexander may be the the team’s best performer, Team Canada has won through collective performances that have been remarkably consistent across every minute of every game. Against Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, Canada has won all 16 quarters of basketball.
Canada Brazil in the semi-finals at 1:30 pm EST on Saturday, September 28. Brazil is a strong club, but Canada is certainly the favourite. Brazil has two star WNBA bigs: San Antonio Star Clarissa dos Santos and Minnesota Lynx Damiris Dantas. They have been Brazil’s leaders through four games, and Alexander’s ability to handle the dual-headed hydra of Brazil’s frontcourt will be a key determining factor in the semi-final.
If Canada is able to top Brazil, they’ll face the winner of the other semi-final between the United States and Puerto Rico. The Finals will take place on Sunday. The United States is star-studded, with far more WNBA players than any other team in the tournament. They’re led by Chicago Sky forward Diamond DeShields and Minnesota Lynx superstar Sylvia Fowles. Fowles was MVP in 2017, champion and Finals MVP in 2015 and 2017, and three-time defensive player of the year. There are few players more decorated in the history of the WNBA.
There’s still a long road ahead of Team Canada, but it cannot be overstated how successful they’ve been. Despite missing key talent in Kia Nurse and Natalie Achonwa for this tournament, Canada is still fulfilling its own expectations. Canada was expected to dominate its competition, but it’s still a positive outcome. The tournament is part of the long process of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. No teams can qualify directly through this AmeriCup tournament, but Canada looks well on its way to a third straight Olympics. Win or lose against Brazil and possibly the United States, Canada’s women’s team is thus far showing the men how it’s done.