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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

UConn's Nurse, Canada to play for fifth place at World Championships

Already owning a win of 2010 silver medalists Czech Republic, UConn incoming freshman Kia Nurse's Canada team took down another big-time team by topping France 55-40 in a classification game.

Nurse finished with six points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in the game as Canada set up a showdown with China for fifth place in the FIBA World Championshp for Women.

Canada opened the second quarter with 15 straight points to take a 30-8 lead. France, which won the silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, did chip away at the lead a bit in the third quarter but never got back within striking range. France scored 31 points in the first half when the teams met in pool play but were held to 16 by halftime on Saturday.

"Sometimes we give teams too much respect," Canada coach Lisa Thomaidis said. "When we are aggressive defensively we talk about how it carries over to the other end."

Miranda Ayim led a balanced Canada offense with 12 points while Shona Thornburn added nine points as Canada advances to meet China tomorrow.

Canada is guaranteed its best finish in the World Championships since placing third in 1986 and also finished third in 1979.

"That was a message in team room and these games matter," Canada coach Lisa Thomaidis said. "The difference between eighth and fifth is massive. We want to be a team that proves we are here and we belong here. Each win is a huge win."

Coming off an eighth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics, these are obviously exciting times for the Canadian national team program.

"We didn't set any goals but we wanted to send message that it wasn't a fluke at the Olympics what happened," Thornburn said. "I think the young kids are realizing it and it is enormous.

"The Olympics were such an amazing experience. That team paved way for this team's success, this team is feeding off what 2012 did and made improvements."

Thornburn believes the three training camps and exhibition games have helped set the stage for what is happening in Turkey right now.

"A lot of dedication, hard work and commitment," Thornburn said. "We have a handful players with 100 (national team appearances) and it shows commitment from the players. (In the past Canada had) 10 days of practice and were thrown into competition. No wonder we aren't winning,"


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