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Canada's Homan finishes first in round-robin, moves into world semis


SYDNEY, N.S. — The Canadian team's numbers speak for themselves at the world women's curling championship this week.

A stellar 11-1 round-robin record. An overall shooting percentage of 88.4 per cent. An impressive 96 points scored to just 53 against.

Skip Rachel Homan, third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes ran the table at the national championship and they're in strong form again here at Centre 200.

Canada secured the top seed Friday afternoon with an efficient 8-2 win over Scotland's Rebecca Morrison. The result locked up a semifinal berth for the Ottawa-based side and ensured they'll be playing for a medal on Sunday.

"The bigger the game, the better they play," said team coach Don Bartlett. "And you can't teach that."

Homan scored three in the second end and stole a pair in the fifth when Morrison was light on a draw. Scotland conceded after the Canadian skip drew for a pair in the seventh.

In the evening, South Korea edged Canada 6-5 in an essentially meaningless night game for the host side that served as a playoff tune-up.

As the first seed, Canada will open playoff games with hammer and have choice of stone colour.

Canada has been tested at times throughout the week. Homan opened with a 7-6 win over Sweden's Anna Hasselborg and needed an extra end for an 8-7 win over Italy's Stefania Constantini a few days later.

A plucky Turkish side was also a handful, forcing Homan to make a pair of tricky soft-weight raises in the 10th end for a 9-5 win that was closer than the score might suggest.

The Wilkes-Miskew front end has been in top form and Fleury has consistently set up her skip. Homan has appeared cool and confident no matter the type of shot required.

"We've made the big shots when we've needed them," Homan said. "I think it's some of the best curling that we've ever had as a team and hopefully we can continue that."

The loss to Gim ended Homan's overall win streak at 27 games.

Defending champion Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland beat Sweden 4-2 to secure the other direct semifinal berth as the second seed at 10-2. Italy (10-2) earned the third seed after a 10-8 win over Japan's Miyu Ueno and South Korea (10-2) took the fourth seed.

In Saturday's qualification games, Italy will meet sixth-seeded Madeleine Dupont of Denmark (6-6) and South Korea will play Sweden (7-5). The winners will advance to the semifinals later in the day.

Medal games are set for Sunday.

Homan's first loss of the competition dropped her overall season record to 60-6.

Gim made a draw in the eighth end to force Homan to try an angle-raise with her last throw. The Canadian skip gave up her first steal since opening night when her rock rolled just under the shot stone.

Homan settled for a single in the ninth when her draw was light and Gim used hammer for a game-winning hit in the 10th.

In the other late games, Tabitha Peterson of the United States dumped New Zealand's Jessica Smith 9-3 and Norway's Marianne Roervik dropped an 8-6 decision to Estonia's Liisa Turmann.

The bottom seven teams in the 13-team field included the U.S. (6-6), Scotland (5-7), Norway (4-8), Turkey's Dilsat Yildiz (3-9), Japan (3-9), Estonia (2-10) and New Zealand (1-11).

Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., will skip the Canadian team at the March 30-April 7 world men's curling championship in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2024.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.