Carleton scores 19 points, Canada beats Japan to remain undefeated at FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup

SYDNEY, Australia — Canada’s women’s basketball team continues to grow at the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup.

SYDNEY, Australia — Canada’s women’s basketball team continues to grow at the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup.

Bridget Carleton scored 19 points while Kayla Alexander grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Canadians beat Japan 70-56 on Sunday to stay undefeated and earn a berth in the quarterfinals.

“It was a big game for us,” said Carleton. “They’re a tough team, they’re tough to play against, they’re quick, they like to shoot three balls, so it’s a tough game, but it’s really good to get the win.

“And it felt good to see some hits coming for me,” she added with a smile.

Shay Colley added 13 points and seven rebounds, Laeticia Amihere finished with 10 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Canadian No. 4 (3-0). Carleton, a forward for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, also had six rebounds.

Maki Takada scored 11 points to lead eighth-placed Japan (1-3), the reigning Olympic silver medalists.

The Canadians will then face Australia (2-1) on Monday, then complete the preliminary round against Mali (0-3) on Tuesday. Their victory on Sunday will allow them to avoid the United States (3-0 in Group A) in the quarters.

“I am very proud of my players because we are growing as a team,” said head coach Victor Lapena. “Just congratulations to my players because today was a masterclass in being in control of the game, and that’s because they are so ready to do it.”

Lapena, a Spaniard and longtime coach of that national program, was hired by Canada Basketball in January after the team’s disappointing first-round elimination at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Canadians, who won bronze at the World Cup twice, in 1979 and 1986, lost to Japan in World Cup qualifying a few weeks after the Olympics.

But the women have continued to fit in since gathering last month in Edmonton for World Cup preparations.

“I think we’re just seeing the benefits of all the time we’ve invested over the past four weeks,” Carleton said. “And every game is a different challenge. Every game, every team plays so differently. So being able to adapt, trusting the coaching staff and what our scouting is on the defensive side, the attacking side, it changes every game, but we wholeheartedly believe in Victor and the coaching staff and what they want us to do.”

“It’s exciting to see the improvement,” she added. “We’re getting used to playing with each other, the way Victor wants to play, and I think it’s going to keep getting better.”

Carleton scored Canada’s first five points after the team went scoreless for the first four minutes. The Canadian defense ignited their offense and Canada took the lead for good, heading into the second set 20-12.

Japan cut Canada’s lead to three points with 4:17 left in the first half, but the Canadians finished with a 13-0 streak to lead 41-25 at the break. Canada’s stifling defense forced Japan to 10 turnovers in the first half.

Canada kept up the momentum in the third quarter, and Carleton’s three-point shot with 1:19 to go propelled the Canadians into the fourth with a 61-39 lead.

“Every game we go to, we think we can win,” Carleton said. “We think we should win. Our target is always to be on the podium, so that’s exactly where we want to be. 3-0. We’ll enjoy it, but rest and recover tonight because we’re in for it. have a (Monday) again against the home crowd in a difficult environment.”

The Canadians opened the World Cup with a 67-60 victory over Serbia, then beat France 59-45.

Australia beat Serbia 69-54 earlier on Sunday.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 25, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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