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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (June 13, 2021) — The Canadian Senior Women’s National Team held on to record a 71-67 victory against Brazil in their second day of competition at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup 2021.

Canada was led by a 17-point performance from Nirra Fields who also sealed the victory by making one of two free throws to keep Canada in front by four with 12 seconds remaining. An attempt from three with five seconds remaining was off the mark for Brazil and Canada improved to 2-0 in the tournament.

“That was such a great game for us, to challenge ourselves against a tough Brazil team,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “I thought they did a great job at taking us out of some of our things, so it really forced us to have to try to get to a plan B.”

Sunday’s game went down to the wire. Despite early foul trouble, Canada was able to keep things close in the first quarter as the bench provided a boost with Laeticia Amihere scoring seven points to help Canada keep things tied up at 21 after the opening 10 minutes. Things started to open up for Canada in the second quarter where the team outscored Brazil 24-16 to build an eight-point lead at the half.

Credit Canada’s depth with helping to keep the team ahead at the break as Amihere and Fields led the way with nine points apiece in the first half, while Kayla Alexander and Aislinn Konig added six points apiece.

“I think you saw this afternoon how important [our depth] was with a number of our players picking up early fouls and being in foul trouble,” Thomaidis said. “That was good for us as coaches, having to adjust and putt different lineups out there. Full credit to the athletes. They responded to the challenge and did a great job when called upon.”

Things flipped in the third quarter, as Brazil outscored Canada 22-13 to not only come back from the eight-point halftime deficit, but take a one-point lead into the fourth, 59-58 after a steal and layup from Thayna Silva to close the quarter.

“We’re not at a place where it’s seamless right now when they take away our first option and we get right into our second one,” Thomaidis said. “I thought we ground to a halt [in the second half] and full credit to Brazil for that. This will be really good for us. We’ll learn from this and take it forward. We scored a lot in the first half and then they made some adjustments and slowed us down so this will be a great learning opportunity.”

The teams went back and forth in the final quarter, trading baskets, turnovers, and stops until a three-pointer from Fields extended Canada’s lead to five, 69-64, with 2:15 remaining. They didn’t trail again.

“We really had to buckle down in today’s game to get this one in the win column,” Thomaidis said. “We held our composure, we made shots when we needed to and we got stops when we needed to. These are the ones we love to be in before we move on. These are the ones we’re going to learn the most from.”

Canada finished the game shooting 45 percent from the floor while holding Brazil to 40 percent shooting. Canada’s bench also outscored Brazil’s reserves 28-13 in the victory as Amihere and Alexander both finished in double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively. Clarissa Dos Santos led Brazil with a game-high 21 points in the loss.

In 17 previous games between the two teams, Brazil had claimed 10 victories to Canada’s seven, though Canada entered Sunday’s game having won the previous four straight meetings.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement and joy there, to be back on the court competing,” Alexander said after the victory. “There’s also excitement about learning and growing throughout these games. We’re not where we want to be yet, but I think we’re continuously building to get to that point. To see the gradual growth and to keep improving, I feel excited and happy and I’m motivated to keep going hard, keep working and keep improving.”

Up next, Canada will face El Salvador on Monday, June 14 at 12:10 p.m. ET. Fans in Canada can watch all the action live on DAZN.

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