There’s a pro and con to facing a team as stacked as Serbia in the first game of the 2020 Olympics.
Pro: this is going to be a great test to see how far Canada’s roster has come.
Con: Serbia is fresh off the EuroBasket Championship, defeating France, 63-54. Maybe they’re tired… or maybe they’re hungry for more gold.
Regardless, Canadian basketball is on the upswing and with young star Kia Nurse, accompanied by Natalie Achonwa, Miranda Ayim and Kim Gaucher, all of whom are making their third appearance for Team Canada, no matter where they place in the 2020 Olympics, the future of Canada basketball is bright, especially after going undefeated through three games in the Olympics qualifying tournament. With that being said, FIBA basketball has Canada ranked ninth out of 12.
Serbia, on the other hand, is a team that looks like a legitimate threat to the United States this year. After winning the bronze at the 2016 Olympics, and coming off a June where they won the EuroBasket championship, this team is not to be messed with. They’re here and they won’t accept anything less than exceptional play. FIBA basketball has Serbia ranked number two behind only the United States.
Two key takeaways for Canada. Number one: take care of the ball. In the EuroBasket, Serbia secured the most steals per game at nearly 11 swipes. On the world stage, butterflies in the stomach, and family members watching, can cause several of the bright lights to be blinding. However, if Serbia smells blood, they’ll dive at the ball to ensure their opponent loses confidence in their ball security.
Number two: smart fouls. Serbia shot third-best from the charity stripe at the EuroBasket, connecting on 82.5 per cent of their attempts. Fouls are a part of the game. But, if it’s not necessary, do not foul.
Tip-Off: Monday, July 26th, 4:20 a.m. ET | TV: CBC
PG: Kia Nurse, Shaina Pellington, Bridget Carleton
SG: Kim Gaucher, Shay Colley, Nirra Fields
SF: Kayla Alexander, Laeticia Amihere,
PF: Natalie Achonwa, Aaliyah Edwards
C: Miranda Ayim, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe
PG: Ana Dabvoic, Yvonne Anderson
SG: Jelena Brooks, Sasa Cadjo, Nevena Jovanovic
SF: Sonja Vasic, Dajana Butulija
PF: Aleksandra Crvendakic, Maja Skoric, Angela Dugalic
C: Tina Krajisnik, Dragana Stankovic
Serbia at -3.