Mon, September 23, 2013

Canadian ballers facing longer road to London

By QMI Agency


Canada's Teresa Gabriele, left, goes for a basket against Croatia's Luca Ivankovic during their 2012 women's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ankara June 29, 2012. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Canada will need to take the long road if it hopes to qualify for the London Olympics in women's basketball.

Croatia posted a 59-56 win over the Canadians in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament Friday in Ankara, Turkey, to prevent them from grabbing a berth in the 2012 Games. Instead, Croatia qualified for the first time in that country's history.

Canada will need back-to-back wins, starting Saturday against Argentina, to get into the Olympics. Argentina has won the last five meetings with Canada, which last beat the South Americans in 2003.

"We've got another chance, it's not done yet," Canadian coach Allison McNeil said. "We've spent a lot of time talking about mental toughness and resiliency over the last four years, so I think that will help us bounce back."

Courtnay Pilypaitis of Orleans, Ont., led Canada with 11 points while Teresa Gabriele of Mission, B.C., chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds. Jelena Ivezic led Croatia with 12 points while Mrija Vrsaljko added 10 points.

The four semifinalists -- Croatia, Turkey, the Czech Republic and France -- all gained entry into the Olympics.

DIVER GOING TO GAMES

Canadian diver Eric Sehn can plan on being in London for the Olympics after all.

The 27-year-old Edmonton native was added to the Canadian team Friday after the sport's governing body, FINA, added him to the list of qualified divers.

Sehn will compete in the 10-metre platform event in London.

Canada earned a single berth in the Olympics at the 2011 world aquatic championships and didn't learn until this week that a second diver would be allowed to compete. Riley McCormick of Victoria, B.C., won the Canadian trials in May to grab the first Olympic berth.