(TORONTO, ONT.) Powered by relentless defensive pressure and intensity throughout their match the Canadian Parapan Am Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team earned a decisive 80-39 win against Mexico that guarantees them a spot in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. A determined and tactical Canadian squad hustled up and down the court to take away Mexico’s time and space in order to improve their Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games record to 2-0. This ensures them a top two placing in their pool alongside Brazil, and a spot in the semifinals. With three Paralympic berths available, and host nation Brazil also guaranteed a spot in Rio, it means all four teams advancing to the semifinals will move onto the 2016 Paralympics.
“We’re going to Rio baby!” exclaimed Team Canada’s Maude Jacques, of Ste-Catherine, Que with a grin from ear to ear.
DEFENCE!!!! Huge win tonight, and, it’s official… Our SWNT just qualified for the 2016 Rio Janeiro Paralympic Summer Games!!!! #GOCANADA
— Erica Gavel (@EricaGavel) August 10, 2015
“We did what we came here to do and accomplished one of our main goals of qualifying for Rio, but we still have a lot of work to do, and we know we have to be ready to play the games we have left here in Toronto. We have to keep getting better every game and make strides toward our ultimate goal of prooving Canada belongs on the top of the podium,” said head coach Bill Johnson, of Winnipeg, Man.
Canada kept their opponent pinned in their own end for much of the game. Mexico, who was only afforded a handful of quality scoring chances through the first ten minutes was limited to just two baskets in the opening frame. Canada held a 19-4 lead after ten minutes. As the game wore on and the Mexican players tired Canada’s offense began to find their way to the hoop. By halftime they stretched their lead to 40 points with the score 50-10 in Canada’s favour going into the midpoint break.
“We have put the work in, and the reps, and the way we played tonight is what you’re going to see from us every night. This is now Canada’s defense. We are going to be physical, we are going to be hard and be up on them,” said Jamey Jewells of Donkin, N.S.
The Canadians spread around the offense getting contributions from 11 different players including a breakout performance by youngster Rosalie Lalonde, of St-Clet, Que. who finished with a 11 points and three of Canada’s 21 assists.
“We started slow on offense, but every time we were able to take one of their players out of the play it caused a lot of turnovers that we eventually started to turn into points. Our principal focus tonight was ball movement and we were able to pass the ball around really well,” said Lalonde.
Janet McLachlan, of Vancouver, B.C., led all Canadian players with 13 points, while Tracey Ferguson, of Toronto, Ont., also reached double digits with 12 points and paced the floor with 9 rebounds.
Canada forced 27 turnovers and generated 15 steals in the victory. Flor Estrada provided the majority of Mexico’s offense, scoring 21 points in the loss.
The Canadian women will play their final preliminary round game against Brazil on Tuesday August 11, 2015 at 16:15 ET before advancing to the semifinals on Thursday August 13th.
Team Canada – Schedule & Results
Day 1 – Saturday August 8
Canada (women) 78 vs. Guatemala 18
Canada (men) 102 vs. Venezuela 27
Day 2 – Sunday August 9
Canada (women) 80 vs. Mexico 39
Day 3 – Monday August 10
Canada (men) vs. Mexico @ 18:30 ET
Day 4 – Tuesday August 11
Canada (women) vs. Brazil @ 16:15 ET
Canada (men) vs. Argentina @ 18:30 ET
Day 5 – Wednesday August 12
Day 6 – Thursday August 13
Day 7 – Friday August 14
Women’s bronze medal game @ 16:30 ET
Women’s gold medal game @ 18:45 ET
Day 8 – Saturday August 15
Men’s bronze medal game @ 08:30 ET
Men’s gold medal game @ 11:00 ET
Don’t Miss A Second of the Action
Get social with Wheelchair Basketball Canada (@WCBballCanada) by using the hashtags #OneTeam #OneGoal to join the conversation and follow the Canadian Parapan Am Wheelchair Basketball Team Canada as they push for the podium and the chance to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games!
Fans can also follow the entire Canadian Paralympic Team (@CDNParalympics) as Team Canada competes on home soil or by using the hashtag #paratough.
All wheelchair basketball games are webcast live by CBC at www.cbc.ca/sports/parapanam