Canada dominates Paraguay in women's basketball qualifier

The Canadian Press
9/26/2011 8:21:11 PM
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NEIVA, Colombia -- What Canada thought would be a tune-up turned into a rout at the FIBA Americas Championship.

Kalisha Keane scored 15 points as Canada's women's basketball team crushed Paraguay 77-26 on Monday.

Keane, from Ajax, Ont., went 3-for-3 from three-point range as the No. 12 Canadians improved to 2-1 at the Olympic qualifying tournament.

Lizanne Murphy of Beaconsfield, Ont., had 11 points, Kim Smith of Mission, B.C., scored 10 and Tamara Tatham of Brampton, Ont., chipped in with eight points along with a team-leading eight rebounds for Canada.

"We knew Paraguay was probably the weakest team in our pool," said Canadian head coach Allison McNeill.

"So it wasn't so much a victory but I think we had a good team effort and I was really happy defensively again how we played. We've been showing some good consistency at the defensive end, and still trying to get in better synch offensively."

Canada's defence was effective against unranked Paraguay (0-2), keeping all shooters under double figures. Ilda Pena Valdez led Paraguay with seven points.

McNeill said Canada had planned to use the game to work out the kinks ahead of Wednesday's match against Jamaica.

"We just thought, we knew we were going to win the game but we just wanted to respect (Paraguay) and try to get some of the things accomplished that we want to get better at, and I think we did that," she said.

Brazil (3-0) leads Pool B with six points after beating Jamaica 73-5, while Canada is second with five points.

The top two teams from each pool advance to the semifinals.

The winner of the 10-team tournament gets an automatic spot at the 2012 London Olympics, while second through fourth qualify for the 12-team Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Canada beat Mexico 72-45 in the opener but lost 56-39 to Brazil on Sunday.

The team wraps up the preliminary round versus 49th-ranked Jamaica. A win would see Canada advance to the semifinals, but McNeill said Jamaica wouldn't give up the spot easily.

"They're big, they're physical, they rebound extremely well, they're a very good offensive rebounding team," she said. "They put pressure on the ball. They're pretty tough."

Canada is playing for its first Olympic appearance since the 2000 Sydney Games.

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