After an undefeated group stage, one would be forgiven for thinking that even lacking stars in Kia Nurse and Natalie Achonwa, Canada might have a chance against the United States in the Finals of the FIBA AmeriCup. However, after Kayla Alexander went down late against Brazil in the semi-finals, Canada couldn’t muster enough offensive firepower to compete with the heavy favourite Americans. Regardless, Canada’s silver medal is an impressive finish, especially considering the missing star talent.
Against Brazil, Canada’s defense led the way. After holding all four teams in group stage to 53, 51, 50, and 50, Canada was able to keep Brazil in the 50s as well. Brazil shot only 5-for-21 from deep as 30 combined points from NBA talents Damiris Dantas and Clarissa dos Santos weren’t enough to keep Brazil in the game. Shay Colley led Canada with 23, but the team’s inability to score efficiently in the half-court foreshadowed Canada’s troubles against the United States. No other Canadian hit double figures in the semis.
Canada’s troubles were far greater against the United States. They managed to score just 46 points, as only Jamie Scott managed double figures, with 12, and only seven Canadians put points on the board. It was a dominant performance from the Americans, who simply had more talent from the jump. Alexander, who was Canada’s best player across the tournament, would have helped dramatically. Sylvia Fowles was named tournament MVP for the Americans.
The results were only academic insofar as it comes to Olympic qualifying. The top eight teams from the AmeriCup qualify for Olympic pre-qualifying tournaments in in November, and Canada easily clears that bar. They have to be good bets to qualify for the Olympics. If Canada is able to add Nurse and Achonwa to its Olmpic roster, then they could even expect to medal. Brazil was a stiff test, and Canada won in a tight game with near perfect late-game execution.