Canada claims bronze medal at Women's AmeriCup with win over Puerto Rico
LEON (Mexico) – After losing to Puerto Rico in the Semi-Final of the 2021 edition of the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup and finishing fourth, Canada got their revenge with a 80-73 win to claim the bronze medal at the 2023 Women’s AmeriCup on Sunday evening at Domo de la Feria in León, Guanajuato, Mexico.
Canada led after the first quarter thanks to a 6-point performance from Sami Hill going 2-of-2 from beyond the arc, alongside 5 points from Shay Colley as 6 Canadians were on the scoreboard leading 22-17.
The boards were dominated by Canada both offensively and defensively, but Puerto Rico shot 42 percent from the floor with Arella Guirantes, the competition’s leading scorer, and Kaelynn Satterfield both tipping in 5 points for Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico started the sceond quarter on an 8-2 run to reclaim the lead, playing tough defense and denying Canada in the paint, forcing them to take long shots.
But Cassandre Prosper would not be denied, making her way to the basket and forcing contact to get the basket.
Puerto Rico kept pace as Mya Hollingshed was not just an offensive 11 points, but also contributed blocking shots down low to keep Canada from taking the lead back in a game that was tied on seven different occasions in the first half.
With the game tied at 31 with three minutes to play, Hill hit a buzzer-beater for Canada to take back the lead by one point despite Guirantes going off for 15 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists at the half.
Both teams had made at least five turnovers in the half that resulted in baskets, but the difference came from Canada’s bench tipping in 15 points and veteran Kayla Alexander controlling the boards with 8 rebounds.
Canada had momentum on their side and the tough play of Nirra Fields still penetrating the net through contact while also playing tight defense.
With Canada forcing Puerto Rico to take long shots that could not hit, a Shay Colley 3-pointer pushed the lead to 7 points in the third quarter.
But Guirantes had no hesitation on offense and was lethal from beyond the arc in the third quarter, pulling the game within two points.
With Aislinn Konig knocking down another three-pointer for Canada, and a Puerto Rico turnover allowing Yvonne Ejim to score, the lead was back to 7 points for Canada.
Defensively, Canada was double-teaming and doing everything to not let Guirantes score, but that meant that halfway through the third quarter it allowed Satterfield to score as she shot a perfect 100% from the field up to that point.
Jennifer O’Neill’s first basket of the game came at the perfect time as she closed the gap to 5 points, but a foul on Colley extended the lead back to 6.
With Alexander a force on both sides of the ball, she reached a double-double to extend the lead to 10.
The fourth quarter continued to be a back-and-forth battle as Jacqueline Benitez was hot at the right moment and helped cut the lead back down to 6 with just over a minute to play despite Alexander scoring 9 of Canada’s 13 fourth quarter points.
But leading by 9 points with less than 10 seconds to play, Canada secured their spot on the podium, even despite one final basket from Guirantes.
Fields led Canada with 19 points as she was automatic from the top of the key, but it was Alexander’s 13-point, 19 rebounds double-double full of second chance points and offensive rebounds that lifted Canada to the win. Colley added 15 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Guirantes led Canada with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, Hollingshed added 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals and Satterfield added 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.