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Canada Basketball – MINSK, BELARUS (July 21, 2018) – Team Canada kicked off the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup  with a 65-51 victory over Latvia in their opening game of the tournament.

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Merissah Russell led the way for the red and white in their first victory in the World Cup, scoring a team-high 11 points to go along with five rebounds. Latvia’s Laura Meldere put up a game-high 20 points in the loss.

Canada’s defence led the way in the first quarter, holding Latvia to just two baskets through the opening frame and earning a 14-4 lead heading into the second.

However, Latvia’s offence found its footing early in the second, going toe-to-toe with Canada throughout the frame and cutting down Canada’s lead down to 27-20 heading into halftime.

The rebounding differential grew drastically in Canada’s favour throughout the third quarter, controlling the offensive boards, giving themselves extra possessions, and earning a 47-33 lead heading into the fourth.

Latvia chipped Team Canada’s lead down to as low as five points late in the fourth quarter, but strong execution down the stretch allowed the red and white to escape with the 65-51 victory.

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“Our posts were dominating today, getting big and aggressive with their seals and going up strong on every attack.” – Yvonne Ejim

“To start the tournament with a victory is obviously great, but more importantly we showed some mental toughness against a team we had lost to previously by establishing ourselves defensively as a unit, playing inside to outside, and rebounding voraciously at both ends. The challenge now is to make sure we improve again tomorrow against Angola.” – Head coach Jodi Gram


Canada will move on and face the Angolan national team in what will be their second game of the tournament.

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