RIO DE JANEIRO (August 16, 2016) – Team Canada’s memorable Olympic run reached its conclusion on Tuesday night with a 68-63 women’s basketball quarter final loss to France at Carioca Arena.
Canada’s starting lineup featured Miah-Marie Langlois, Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, Kim Gaucher, Tamara Tatham and Miranda Ayim.
Captain Gaucher had 15 points to lead five Canadian players in double-digit scoring, including Raincock-Ekunwe, whose mother resides in Penticton, added 10 points with five rebounds in 23 minutes, 39 seconds of playing time. Kia Nurse came off the bench for 11 points, three rebounds and three assists, while Tatham contributed 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sandrine Gruda had a game-high 10 rebounds and was France’s top scorer with 14 points.
“We lacked a little bit of experience at the end,” Canadian head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “We forced up some tough shots we didn’t need to, and we had a hard time learning our lessons throughout the tournament.”
Canada and France battled tooth-and-nail to the very end, in a back-and-forth match-up reflective of two teams finished group play at the Olympics with identical 3-2 records.
Canada hit its first three three-pointers of the game, seizing an early 14-7 advantage. After France pulled back within two points, 16-14, the Canadians finished the first quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 25-16 lead. Langlois was on fire in the opening period, scoring eight points while shooting 3/3 from the field, including a pair of triples.
Team Canada built is lead to 29-16 early in the second quarter before hitting a dry spell as France scored 10 straight points to cut Canada’s advantage to one with more than four minutes remaining before halftime. Canada answered, by closing the period with an 8-4 run that included four points from Gaucher, and took a 37-32 lead into the break.
“We got into foul trouble, they were in the bonus with seven minutes left in the second quarter and I think that brought them back into the game,” Gaucher said. “I think we could have been up big at that point, but they got so many shots at the free-throw line that we just gave away free baskets.”
France scored the first six points of the third quarter and grabbed ts first lead, 38-37, since the early moments of the game. From there the teams traded leads, and ended the period deadlocked at 50-50.
That trend continued throughout the final period. Raincock-Ekunwe hit a free-throw to make the score 60-59 in favour of France with 1:58 remaining, but Canada was unable to get closer as France finished on an 8-4 run.
France advances to play Team USA, the five-time defending Olympic champions, on Thursday.