With under six minutes left in their opening game of the 2016 Women’s Continental Clash, it appeared like the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team was heading towards another narrow defeat at the hands of Germany, the defending Paralympic champion.
However, the Canadian club flipped the script by scoring 17 of the last 22 points in the game to earn a 63-54 win, their first victory of the year over their German rivals in Worcester, Great Britain on Monday.
Janet McLachlan (West Vancouver, B.C.) led the way for the Canadian squad with 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. She was deadly from the free throw line as she made seven of her eight shot attempts. The three-time winner of Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s female athlete of the year award will once again be counted upon to be a major point producer for her team at the Rio Games.
Cindy Ouellet (Quebec City, Que.) and Rosalie Lalonde ( St-Clet, Que.) also recorded double-digit performances on the scoreboard with 14 and 11 points respectively. Ouellet is appearing at her third Paralympics while Lalonde is making her Games debut in September.
The Canadian team led after the first quarter (19-18) and at half time (33-30), but they found themselves trailing the Germans 43-41 heading into the final part of the game after getting outscored 13 to eight in the third. They ended up outscoring Germany 22-11 in the final quarter.
It was Canada’s dominance from the free throw line that ultimately made the difference in this game. The Canadian ladies combined to shoot 13-for-17 (76 per cent) while the German ladies only shot 2-for-6 (33 per cent). Germany ( 26-for-61, 41 per cent) held a slight edge over Canada (25-for-64, 39 per cent) in field-goal percentage.
Wheelchair Basketball Canada will no doubt be very pleased with this solid victory, especially considering the Canadian ladies came into the Continental Clash with no wins in their past two exhibition tournaments.
Up next for the Canadian team is a showdown against France on Tuesday at 4:45 a.m. EST. The French team were crushed 75-39 by the Netherlands and Great Britain was defeated 61-51 by Germany on Monday. Canada will face off against the Dutch on Wednesday at 7 a.m. EST.
Thursday’s playoff schedule will be determined after the conclusion of the games on Wednesday.
Photo credit: Wheelchair Basketball Canada/Canadian Paralympic Committee