Quarter-final spot in limbo for Canadian women’s basketball team after loss to Spain

Canada’s fate at the Tokyo Olympic basketball tournament is now out of its hands.

Spain beat Canada 76-66 in an early-morning game in Japan that it led from start to finish.

After cutting Spain’s lead to six at halftime, Canada was undone by a sloppy start to the second half. A series of turnovers and missed shots led to a 16-4 Spain run that pushed the lead to 18.

Canada did manage to respond with an 18-4 run of its own to cut Spain’s lead to six, but couldn’t get any closer.

In the fourth quarter, whenever Canada threatened, it then committed a costly turnover or Spain made a clutch three-pointer.

Spain was scorching from the field, making 59 per cent of its shot attempts.

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Canada will now have to depend on the results of other games if it hopes to secure a spot in the quarter-finals. And it may have to keep its calculator close.

In Tokyo, 12 teams are divided into three groups of four during the preliminary stage.

The top two teams from each group, plus the two best third-place teams, advance to the quarter-finals. 

Today’s loss means Canada finishes group play at 1-2, likely third place in its pool.

Through three games, Canada has a plus-seven point differential. To reach the quarter-finals, it will need that number to be better than one of the two other third-place finishers.

France, currently third in Group B, sits at plus-21 with a game to come against the top-ranked U.S. Australia, currently third in Group C, is minus-17 with a game remaining against lowly Puerto Rico.

The real difference in this game was points in the paint, where Spain torched Canada 44-24.

Spain’s six-foot-six centre Astou Ndour was the game’s leading scorer, finishing with 20 points, many of them easy layups,

Canada’s Kia Nurse recorded 14 points in the loss.

Read more at CBC.ca