July 31, 2012
Canadians no belles of basketball
By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
LONDON - The Canadian women’s basketball team knows what it has to do to win.
If it’s not pretty, well, too bad.
“We focus on our defence. We’re sorry for those who watched the game, but that’s how we like playing,” said Canada’s Kim Smith as Canada prepared to meet France in the third game of their five-game Olympic schedule.
Smith was talking about Canada’s ragged 73-65 win over Great Britain, ranked 49th in the world, a game in which Canada trailed by four in the latter part of the fourth quarter.
“We’re not talented, we don’t play nice basketball, but it doesn’t matter. A win is a win,” said Smith.
Heading into their game against France on Wednesday morning, that emphasis on defence was going to have to continue if Canada was going to keep alive a shot at making it the medal round.
Canada is ranked 11th in the world coming into the Olympic tournament and, like Smith said, can’t run and gun with the powers that occupy Canada’s pool like Australia, Russia and Brazil.
Canada was 1-1 going into the game against France, which is eighth ranked in the world. The French scored a huge upset when they defeated the second-ranked Australians in overtime Monday night.
“It was a big, big victory because it was against a big team like Australia. It was not a target for us at the beginning of the tournament, but we played with desire and energy to get the win,” said France’s Celine Dumerc.
If Canada needs to look for some inspiration, they only needed to look at their opponents Wednesday.
Nobody gave the French much of a shot against Australia, but they moved to 2-0 in the tournament with the win (they beat the sixth-ranked Brazilians to open the tournament).
Dumerc said they got the idea they could win against Australia at halftime.
“We were playing so badly and were still up by one. So we said to each other that we could beat these girls today. Not tomorrow, not some other time. Today.”
After facing France, Canada had two games remaining in the round-robin portion of the schedule.
Canada’s women’s basketball team
Olympic schedule (all times local).
Saturday, July 28: Russia 58, Canada 53
Monday, July 30: Canada 73, Great Britain 65
Wednesday, Aug. 1: Canada vs. France, 4 a.m. EDT
Friday, Aug. 3: Canada vs. Brazil, 9:30 a.m. EDT
Sunday, Aug. 5: Canada vs. Australia, 9:30 a.m. EDT