(Toronto, Ont) Underdog Canada triumphed over Team Germany, the reigning Paralympic gold medallists, on home soil to earn the title of world champion at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Toronto. The team upset the No. 1 ranked team, who they lost to during the preliminary round, to add a fifth world championship to the Canadian women’s name. Germany achieved silver and Netherlands took home the bronze at the largest women’s world championship in history.
Game 41: China Takes Seventh Place
France finishes in eighth
China began the final day of competition at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship by defeating France 64-30 for seventh place. China finishes with a 3-5 record while France falls to 2-6.
China came out with a dominant offensive display, scoring eight straight to begin the match. France struggled to keep pace as the Chinese side quickly compiled a 21-5 quarter. The French opened the second with a 7-0 streak to trim the lead, but China came back to regain control of the game and take the frame 17-15.
France’s difficulties in generating offence continued in the second half. The European side was held to two points as China pushed its lead to 51-22. The French seemed unable to find their offensive rhythm and shot 23 per cent in the match. Team China held a clear edge in play around the basket, outscoring France 30-18 in the paint and out-rebounding the opposition 39-29.
The balanced Chinese attack featured four players in double figures; Jia Meng Dai led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds. Yong Qing Fu a double-double of 11 and 11. Angélique Pichon countered for France with ten points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while teammate Fabienne Saint Omer-Delepine added ten and ten.
Following the victory, Chinese head coach Han Yan commented on his team’s growth and development in this competition. “At the beginning, the team did not play to its full potential, but in the past four games, the players have been been getting into shape and performing to the best of their abilities. Our team goal was to find out what areas we needed to work on through this tournament. Overall, I’m very satisfied with our performance here.”
Team China, ranked No. 5 in the world, improved upon its eighth place standing at the 2010 edition of this event, though the team fell below its fifth-place finish at the 2012 Paralympic Games. France, who qualified for this competition following a fourth-place showing at the 2013 European Championship, did not participate in the last World Championship.
Game 42: Great Britain Takes Consolation Final in Overtime
Australia Finishes in Sixth
Team Great Britain (5-3) completed its time at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship with a thrilling 77-70 overtime victory over Australia (4-4) to secure fifth place.
The consolation final opened with a tight quarter in which neither team could build a lead larger than four. Ahead 18-16 to begin the second, Great Britain used a quick 8-2 run to push ahead in the match. The British side bolstered its advantage to lead 35-28 at the half.
Australia found its offensive form after the break and outscored Great Britain 20-14 to trim its deficit to one heading into the final frame. A tightly contested quarter saw the Australians square the game late to send the match into extra time.
Helen Freeman willed Great Britain to the win with her impressive play in the extra frame. She had a hand in all 13 of her team’s points, using the added time to score seven and tally three helpers.
For the fourth time in this tournament, Freeman led the British attack, topping all scorers with 41 points. She registered a triple-double in the match by grabbing 11 rebounds and adding 10 assists. Amber Merritt scored 32 points – including 26 in the second half and overtime – to lead Team Australia.
Head coach Miles Thompson reflected on his team’s performance with positivity. “Execution is what it came down to. They made some adjustments in the second half offensively that were really good and on-point, it came down to our offensive execution late in the game. [This victory] is definitely something we can build on. It was a huge program win for us.”
Today’s fifth-place finish is Great Britain’s highest in the history of this tournament. The Australian Gliders – the reigning Paralympic Silver Medalists who entered the tournament ranked second in the world – have not finished higher than fourth place at this event since a 2002 Bronze Medal showing.
Game 43: Second Half Explosion Leads the Dutch to Bronze
Outscored the USA 45-30 in final 20 minutes.
The Netherlands are the bronze medallists at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship after a 74-58 victory over the USA on Saturday afternoon.
Sparked by an amazing performance by Inge Huitzing who put up 43 points, nine rebounds and five assists in over 38 minutes, the Dutch earned their first podium finish ever at the World Championships.
“Inge Huitzing, she is the MVP of this tournament,” the Netherlands head coach Gertjan Van der Linden, said. “In the last three to four years, we have built her up to be a wheelchair basketball player and she is one of the best in the world. She is a point guard and she can shoot, but she can also read the game and that’s the most important thing.”
The game started out very even, with both teams trading shots back and forth. At the end of the first quarter, it was the USA with a 16-13 advantage.
The USA would continue to lead up until two minutes remaining in the first half when the Netherlands would take a slim lead and carry that advantage into halftime at 29-28.
The second half would be a much different story with the Dutch carrying the entire pace of play and outscoring the USA 18-10.
Despite the USA trying to keep pace, the Dutch scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to cap off the victory.
“We did a really good job,” Van der Linden said. “The girls had a terrible night because of the loss to Canada. But altogether we also did a good job.”
Rebecca Murray was the American’s leading scorer with 22 points and 9 assists.
The loss marks the first time the USA has ever been held off the podium at the World Championships after claiming gold in 2010.
Game 44: Canada Wins Gold on Home Soil
Fought off tough German team to win first world championship in 8 years
Canada is back on top of the world after a 54-50 victory over Germany in the gold medal game of the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
The win was Canada’s first world championship gold medal since 2006 when their streak of four straight gold medals was broken at the 2010 edition of the tournament.
It also was a good comeback for the Canadian squad after finishing out of medal contention at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and beating Germany, the defending Paralympic champions.
“I gotta say, coming from sixth place in London back to the podium, that’s what we talked about and I don’t think a lot of people had faith that we could move that high up in the rankings but the team believed that we could and we bought into a common goal and a common plan,” Canadian veteran and Toronto native Tracey Ferguson said after the game.
Germany started the game on a 6-2 run and ended the first quarter with a slim 12-11 lead. Canada shot just 26 per cent from the field in the first quarter.
The quick break in between quarters seemed to make a difference for Canada as they came out strong to start the second quarter and took the lead. Germany battled back but it was Canada that had a three point lead at recess.
The game would continue to go back in forth in the third quarter with Germany taking a 28-27 lead with 6:37 left to force a Canada timeout. A nice shot by Katie Harnock gave Canada a three point lead at the end of the third.
Germany would tie it up at 40 in the fourth but Canada would continue to carry the momentum. A big two point shot by Ferguson with just over three minutes remaining put Canada up by six and they would hold on to win.
Janet McLachlan and Cindy Ouellet were the leading scorers for Canada with 15 points each. McLachlan collected a double-double while collecting 19 rebounds.
Marina Mohnen had 20 points for Germany to go along with six rebounds and four assists.
For Ferguson, it was her fourth World Championship title and to win it in front of friends and family was special.
“This is pretty brilliant, this is a chance to compete in front of family and friends and you know, we took care of world championship so we have the Parapan Ams next summer and that’s our qualifier for Rio (2016) so it is crucial that we do our best there as well and I think we’ve set the tone, we’ve shown the world that we’re back ready to compete with the best and be the best,” Ferguson said.
For Canadian head coach Bill Johnson, winning in Canada was also particularly sweet, especially to do it against Germany ahead of TO2015.
“I’ve never had the privilege, so it’s pretty incredible. I’m still soaking in the experience,” Johnson said. “The fact that we can come into that (TO2015) now as favourites is a whole new experience for us. So we’ll embrace that challenge like we have everything else here and we’ll move forward as we work towards Rio.”