Canadian Women heading to Tokyo after Big Win Against Sweden

Canada's headcoach Lisa Thomaidis and Canada's Natalie Achonwa pictured during a press conference ahead of the women's Basketball Olympic qualification tournament between Belgium, Japan, Sweden and Canada, Wednesday 05 February 2020 in Oostende. BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER (Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

The Canadian women and their basketball team will be heading to Tokyo as they finished first in their group with a close 80-78 win over Japan on February 9th. However, that game was more of an exhibition match as Canada already qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics. This is because of the win they achieved over Sweden on February 8th. This win resulted in Canada going to their third straight Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Canadian Women Gets Big Win Over Sweden

Sweden held its own in the first half against Canada losing by only six points. However, the Canadian women stepped up its defense and offense in the second half and won 80-50 at Sea’Arena in Ostend, Belgium.  A big reason why Canada won the game was because of their positive start to the game, their defense, and bench.

The Canadian Women and the Three Keys against Sweden

Positive Start to the Game – Canadian Women

Just like with the Belgian team, the Canadian women started off strong against Sweden. They started the first quarter leading 13-4 against the Swedish. A big part of this run should be credited to Kia Nurse and Natalie Achonwa who scored most of Canada’s 13 points at the start of the first quarter. The Canadians also played good defense throughout the game against Sweden.

Defense

The defense for Team Canada was terrific, especially in the second half. According to FIBA, Canada held Sweden to just 20 points in the second half and held them to a 33 percent shooting percentage. The Canadian women’s basketball team also rebounded the ball. They were +6 on the offensive and +14 on the defensive glass, preventing Sweden from getting extra possessions.

They also cut down on the turnovers in the second half as Canada took over the game. This led to Sweden scoring only 20 points in the second half. This was also due to how well Canada’s offense was doing, which in large part was because of the bench.

Bench

The bench provided the spark Canada needed to win the game. They outscored Sweden 43-9 in the game. Key members who played well on the bench include Shaina Pellington and Miranda Ayim. According to FIBA, they scored 21 points with an impressive 50 percent field goal percentage.

Pellington had a +/- rating of +13 on the floor while Ayim was +11 on the floor. Other players from the bench that played well were Kayla Alexander and Laeticia Amihere. The bench played a big and deciding role in Canada’s win over Sweden. However, the player of the game will have to go to Achonwa, who had the most points in the game for Team Canada.

Players of the Game

Natalie Achonwa

Achonwa, in only 16-17 minutes of play, had 16 points and an 88.7 field goal percentage for Team Canada. She also had eight rebounds and had a +/- rating of +17 for the team. What was more impressive was her efficiency rating, which was 24, the highest for Team Canada. Other players that played well were Bridget Carlton with eight points and Nurse with 10 points for Team Canada.

Canadian Women and their Performance in Group Analysis

The Canadian Women’s Basketball Team will be heading to the Summer Olympics for the third time in a row. Team Canada, ranked fourth in the world, will look to medal for the first time in the national team’s history. Belgium will be the other team going to the Olympics from Canada’s group.

Belgium lost to Canada 61-56 in their first game, which was covered in this previous article. The Belgians then won two straight games against both Japan and Sweden clinching its spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Other teams that have qualified for the Olympics via Olympic qualifying are Spain, China, South Korea, France, Australia, Puerto Rico, Serbia, and Nigeria. These teams will join America and Japan. The U.S. qualified for the Summer Olympics by winning the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup in Spain. Japan also qualified for the Summer Olympics via being the hosts of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The Canadian women will be looking to medal in the 2020 Summer Olympics. Last time, they lost to France 68-63 in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Japan was also eliminated in the quarterfinals losing 110-64 to eventual Olympic gold medalists the Americans.

Canadian basketball fans will now look ahead to the Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which was discussed in a previous article. The Canadian Men’s Basketball team will look to qualify for their first Olympic games for the first time since 2000.

Main Photo

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