Photo credit Freestyle Photography
SHENZHEN, China (CIS) – The 26th Summer Universiade has been a showcase for the exquisite artistic beauty of China, but inside the Shenzhen Foreign Language High School Gymnasium on Sunday morning Canada’s women’s basketball opener against Poland resembled nothing of the Ming dynasty, as the Canadians squeaked out an ugly 52-50 win.
The Canadians (1-0) are back in action on Monday when they face
Russia (0-0) at 10 a.m. local time (Sunday, 10 p.m. ET). A win by
Canada or a loss by Poland (0-1) against the Russians on Tuesday
will move Canada into the quarter-finals. The Canadians find
themselves in a three-team pool as South Africa pulled out of the
tournament a week prior to the start of the competition.
“We could have buckled in the fourth quarter, but I’m really proud of how the team played in the final moments of this game,” said Team Canada head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “In the first half I felt some people fell into some old habits, and the reality of playing at an international tournament is that the officiating will be more stringent than playing university basketball in North America, and our athletes need to adjust accordingly.”
Guards Justine Colley and Kendel Ross took Canada on their shoulders late in the fourth. With their squadron trailing 48-43 with just under two minutes remaining, Vernon, B.C., native Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe drained a runner to bring the Canucks back within three. Following a Poland offensive foul, Colley sliced into the lane, getting her lay-up to drop while being hacked on the arm, making the subsequent free throw to knot the score at 48-48.
After the Canadians forced a Poland miss, Colley, a product of Saint Mary’s University, again took the ball to the hole, putting Canada up 50-48 with only 48 seconds to play.
“The seas parted in the lane, and I was told by our coaches in that situation to make something happen,” said the East Preston, N.S., native, who finished the game with 11 points. “We weren’t executing well throughout the game offensively, but we were able to pull together down the stretch and finish today.”
With 19 seconds left on the clock, Poland’s Joanna Kedzia came off the bench to connect on a 12-foot jumper to tie the game at 50-50.
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