ISTANBUL, TURKEY – After an outstanding tournament performance at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women, Canada claims a fifth place finish after defeating China, 61-53.

Head Coach Lisa Thomaidis was proud of her team following their win, and praised Canada’s great chemistry for their success throughout the tournament.

“This is a quite a significant day for basketball in this country,” said Thomaidis. “Finishing fifth shows that we have what it takes to compete against and beat some of the best teams in the World.  We did it thanks to the commitment, dedication and belief in our overall philosophy from both the veterans and younger athletes.

“Our mix of veteran and youth was the reason for this success. Without one or the other this would not have come about.  Our veterans have had a significant impact on the improvements that our young players have made in a very short period of time, and I'm so proud of them for that. “

Canada, hot off their exciting win yesterday against France, threw everything they had at China with a great all around team effort. Canada opened up the first quarter with great energy, led by Kim Gaucher (Mission, BC) who had nine points in the frame, but trailed China, 15-13.

In the second quarter, Canada continued their unselfish play at the tournament handing out 10 assists through the first two quarters. Their defensive pressure would also give China difficulty, forcing them to turn the ball over 14 times resulting in a halftime deficit to Canada, 32-26.

China would try to assert themselves in the third quarter by going on a 6-0 run to start the frame. Miranda Ayim (London, ON) helped Canada restore control by scoring seven points in the quarter and grabbing key offensive rebounds to keep her team up, 46-41 heading into the deciding quarter.

With fifth place on the line, Canada remained vigilant in the fourth. Limiting offensive opportunities for China and connecting on their own shots.

Kim Gaucher (Mission, BC) had an excellent outing on offense with 16 points, while also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out two assists. The consistent Miranda Ayim (London, ON) nearly missed a double double with 15 points and nine rebounds, but also added in three steals and two blocks.

Denise Dignard, Director of Women’s High Performance for Canada Basketball believes that the women’s play in Turkey will have an everlasting impact on the future of basketball in Canada.

“This is a historical moment for the women’s high performance program that will inspire a younger generation of players to represent Canada at the pinnacle of our sport,” said Dignard.

“I'm excited for this team to have achieved this outstanding performance which comes as a result of their tremendous commitment.”

“I would like to recognize Sport Canada, Own the Podium and the City of Edmonton whose support helped us make this happen.”

Canada Basketball’s Executive Director, Michele O’Keefe commended Canada’s play.

“We are incredibly proud and excited by the performance of our team here in Turkey,” said O’Keefe. “Finishing in fifth place, knowing that the last time our team made it to quarter-finals was in 1994 speaks volumes.”

“Next summer we will be hosting the FIBA Americas Championship for Women in the City of Edmonton and this will give us a stage on which we can show Canada just how good our team is, as well as give our team the opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio on home soil.  The future for Canada Basketball is so bright!”

Full box score from Canada vs. China:


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