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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

UConn's Nurse three wins away from Olympic berth

Canada's dominating performances continued at the FIBA Americas tournament.

Nurse had 11 points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and a blocked shots in 16 minutes in a 111-36 win over the Dominican Republic as Canada moved to 3-0 in Group A.

Nurse was the Canadian player who joined national team coach Lisa Thomaidis in the postgame press conference which was aired live on the FIBA Americas site.

There wasn't much earth-shattering stuff to come out of the presser but Nurse did address playing Cuba, the team which gave Canada its toughest game at the Pan Am Games, in the final pool play game on Thursday.

"I definitely have a little bit of experience against them and with experience comes a little bit of difficulty and a little bit of helpfulness," Nurse said. "You get to understand their players and their tendencies but they get to do the same thing to you. It is just a matter of continuing to play them and every single game is going to be a different game and it will be a different outcome."

If Canada wins three more games it will clinch an Olympic berth (actually, there's a chance that one more win would accomplish the feat if Cuba wins tomorrow and if Canada were to play Brazil in the title game) and a competitor like Nurse is obviously looking forward to the games as the stakes get higher.

"Once the tournament gets going into this part we all know the importance of it, we are all kind of ready for it and amping up to it but it gets exciting at this point too," Nurse said. "You will see that the fist pumps are going crazy now so it is always really exciting."

The top two teams in each group advance to the semifinals. Despite a valiant effort, Puerto Rico suffered its second loss of the tournament at the hands of Cuba. If Cuba beats Chile tomorrow both Cuba and Canada will have punched tickets into the semifinals with Thursday's showdown deciding who will earn the No. 1 seed. Argentina and Brazil appear headed into the semifinals in Group B and with Brazil being given an automatic berth into the Olympics, the automatic spot in the Olympics will be down to Canada, Cuba and Argentina.

Miranda Ayim led six Canadian players in double figures with 15 points to go with six rebounds and three assists. UCLA's Nirra Fields had 13 points, former Notre Dame star Natalie Achonwa finished with 12 points while Kim Gaucher and Lizanne Murphy had 11 points each.

Nurse is Canada's leading scorer with an average of 11.7 points per game and the only Canadian player to score in double figures in all three games. Three other players average at least 10 points per game and three others contribute at least eight PPG.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Joe said...

I'm confused when you say "the" automatic spot...how many spots are there total?

Brazil gets an automatic slot as host...does the USA get an automatic slot as defending gold medalist?

12:10 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

U.S. gets one virtue of winning world championship as the defending champion does not automatically qualify. Brazil was just awarded a spot as host country and Serbia as European champion. One spot will go to FIBA Americas champion on Sunday (unless it is Brazil as the second place team will get the spot). Another spot will go to the FIBA Oceania champion and that will be crowned on Monday. The Asia and African champs will get spots and the other five will be determined at Olympic qualifying tournament next year.

1:30 PM 
Anonymous Joe said...

Thanks!

12:58 PM 

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