The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team kicked off play at their pre-qualifier tournament in Colombia with a game against Venezuela this evening. Canada needs to finish in the top two of this event in order to progress to an Olympic Qualifying tournament in early 2024. They are playing this weekend against Venezuela, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.
This is the SWNT’s first game since they conclusion of the 2022 World Cup in Australia last September, where Canada finished fourth in the world. This also marks the first time that Natalie Achonwa played in a basketball game since giving birth to her first-born just six months ago.
For more info on the entire roster, check out our preview of the tournament here.
To kick off this game in against Venezuela, Canada’s head coach Victor Lapena started Shay Colley, Kia Nurse, Bridget Carleton, Natalie Achonwa, and Kayla Alexander.
Though it was a slow offensive start for both teams, Canada eventually got the offence rolling — starting with a nice mid-range jumper from Kia Nurse. They eventually got out to a 23-8 lead in the first quarter. Kia Nurse led all scorers with seven points. After her, fellow WNBA player and NCAA champion Laeticia Amihere had a nice four points, four rebounds. Bridget Carleton added a three pointer to the score sheet, and Kayla Alexander grabbed six rebounds in the first quarter alone.
Luckily Canada had such a big lead going into the second quarter, because they went the first five minutes of the second quarter without scoring a single point. It was Kayla Alexander who broke the scoring drought with 4:48 left in the quarter. After that, it started falling more for Canada. Kia Nurse got an and-one, completing the 3-point play, and shortly after Shay Colley did the exact same.
Canada went into the half up 42-15, with Kia Nurse leading all scorers at 10 points on 4-9 shooting.
Canada is up 42-15 over Venezuela at halftime— Raptors HQ (@RaptorsHQ) November 9, 2023
Kia Nurse: 10 points (4-9), 1 rebound
Nirra Fields: 7 points, 2 assists, 2 steals
Kayla Alexander: 6 points, 7 rebounds
Shay Colley: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist
Bridget Carleton: 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
The third quarter wasn’t huge offensively for Canada but they maintained a large lead throughout. Sami Hill got on the board with a three and an assist, and followed it up with two more three pointers, just for fun. Bridget Carleton was up to 10 points. They were up 64-25 going into the final 10 minutes.
Sami Hill was all over in the second half. She not only lit it up from three, she was directing the offence, being gritty on defence, diving for balls and overall just being a dominant presence for Canada.
Laeticia Amihere also had and extremely dominant performance, ending the night with 11 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and two blocks. Amihere, who just played her rookie season in the WNBA with the Atlanta Dream, looked extremely tough out there in the front court and even hit a three pointer.
4 Canadians in double-digits. Canada puts up 81 points despite shooting 10/33 from three.— Keerthika Uthayakumar (@keerthikau) November 10, 2023
Bridget Carleton was a +36 in 19 minutes, finishing with 10 pts, 5 reb, 3 ast & 2 stl. https://t.co/M6Fmt4WWGE
It was a nice and easy finish for Canada, who emptied their bench in the fourth quarter and won 81-39 over Venezuela. They will continue their play in this Americas pre-qualifying tournament tomorrow night as they take on Colombia at 8 pm ET. The games are available to stream for free on the FIBA YouTube page.