SAN CRISTOBAL DE LA LAGUNA, Spain — Kia Nurse had 17 points and Canada’s offence erupted for 24 points in the fourth quarter to edge Nigeria 73-72 on Sunday in the seventh-place game at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.
Miah-Marie Langlois added 14 points, including the eventual deciding free throw with 11 seconds left, and sank 3-of-4 three-point attempts for the Canadians. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe chipped in with 10 points.
Canada was ranked No. 5 in the world heading into the tournament and went 3-0 through round robin to win its group. But the Canadians fell out of medal contention with a quarterfinal loss to No. 2 Spain on Friday.
They also lost Saturday’s consolation bracket opener against China, relegating them to the seventh-place game.
"It hurts right now because we had those expectations," said Canada’s Natalie Achonwa. "We were good enough to meet those expectations but we did fall short."
Atonye Nyingifa led Nigeria with 17 points and Evelyn Akhator had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Trailing by three points with a few seconds left, Nyingifa drove for a layup instead of attempting a potential tying three-pointer. She followed up her own miss with a putback just before the buzzer, but Nigeria finished a point short.
Canada led 21-17 after the first quarter but scored just nine points in the second to head into halftime down 35-30.
Both teams put up 19 points in the third, putting Nigeria up 54-49 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We’ll take what we can from this experience," said Canada’s head coach Lisa Thomaidis. "When you look at how much we’ve improved from Rio (Olympic Games in 2016) to now, I thought there was significant improvement in a lot of our players. So now we need to make sure that happens again between now and 2020."
Even with the loss, it was a record-breaking performance for Nigeria. The team became the first African nation to reach the quarterfinals and win three games in the tournament.
— With files from The Associated Press