The Canadian U23 Women’s National Team defeated the U.S. 78-69 on Wednesday to remain undefeated and move to 2-0 at the GLOBL Jam international basketball showcase.
Canada had five players finish in double figures and were led by a 14-point effort from Merissah Russell and a 12-point, 12-rebound game by Aaliyah Edwards, who has turned in two double-doubles in two GLOBL Jam appearances.
The win was also the second straight for Team Canada head coach Carly Clarke who is coaching in her home gym at Mattamy Athletic Centre after leading Toronto Metropolitan University to an undefeated record en route to a U Sport championship this past season.
Clarke has been involved with various age group programs with Canada Basketball prior to joining the Senior Women’s National Team as an assistant coach. She is soaking up her first experience with GLOBL Jam, just as her players are.
“I enjoy the age group,” she said. “I certainly enjoy U16, U17, U18. It’s some of [the player’s] first touch points with the national team. So the opportunity to have an influence and [help them have] a good, positive experience for hopefully a long national team career, that means a lot.”
Any opportunity to get Canada’s best talent together for training camp and game experiences is also an opportunity to strengthen chemistry and team bonds.
“You’re trying to build a culture and an understanding of what it takes to be a high-performance athlete and to have a long career,” Clarke said.
Shaina Pellington scored 13 points in the game, while Sarah Te-Biasu and Latasha Lattimore added 10 points apiece for a Canadian team that shot 34 percent from the floor and 33 percent from beyond the arc (9-for-27).
Team USA was led by a stellar 27-point effort from Taya Robinson in the loss. Robinson scored 20 of her 27 points in the second half as she did her best to try to get the U.S. back in front of Canada. Toronto, Ontario native Mary-Anna Asare added 18 points for the Virginia Commonwealth University team that is representing the U.S. in the tournament.
Canada never trailed in the game, using a 15-2 run in the opening quarter to lead 22-11 after the first 10 minutes. Russell had a perfect opening quarter from the floor, and continued to be on point in the second, scoring a layup to give Canada a 27-11 lead.
As the U.S. tried to dig in and even up the score, Canada was determined not to give an inch and the second quarter became a battle of wills. With both teams upping their defensive effort, it was an extremely physical second quarter.
After a 10-2 run by the US, a three-pointer from Lattimore extended Canada’s lead back to double figures, 32-21, with 3:34 to go in the half. A big three from Asare made it an eight-point deficit, but a block from Russell followed by a corner three-pointer from Te-Biasu kept Canada ahead by double figures. After a steal from Te-Biasu led to a layup for Pellington, Canada went into the halftime break with a 43-28 lead.
Canada shot 33 percent from the floor in the half, including 37 percent from three, making 6-of-16 attempts from long range. The U.S. shot 26 percent, and 33 percent from three, making 3-of-9 attempts from long range. Russell’s 12 points at the half on 4-for-6 shooting led all scorers, while Pellington added nine points.
Things slowed down in the second half for both teams until Pellington and Asare traded baskets and then Ejim scored on a layup to give Canada the 49-34 lead with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter.
A layup from Asare during an 11-4 run for the U.S. trimmed the deficit to just 10 with 3:06 remaining in the third. After Shy Day-Wilson and Robinson traded three-pointers, Canada led 55-44 after three.
Canada opened the fourth quarter scoring with a bucket from Edwards, who followed that up with a block and steal on the other end before driving to the rim and earning a trip to the free-throw line on the other. After hitting both free throws, Canada led 59-44.
The U.S. kept pushing, but were unable to get the stops needed to cut into Canada’s lead. Every time the U.S. would threaten to get within single digits, Canada had an answer. Though neither team stopped pushing until the final buzzer sounded, Canada refused to see their advantage evaporate and went on to collect their second victory in as many days.
Up next for Canada is a meeting against France on Thursday, July 7 at 6 P.M. ET. The U.S. will take on Belgium on Thursday, July 7 at 11 A.M. ET.