Canada to play for gold at wheelchair hoops worlds
Janet McLachlan's shot with less than 1 second left propels Canada over Netherlands
The play unfolded precisely how Canada coach Bill Johnson drew it up — with Katie Harnock feeding Janet McLachlan in the paint for the game-winning shot with less than a second remaining.
Canada defeated the Netherlands 75-74 at the Women's World Wheelchair Basketball Championship on Friday to advance to Saturday's final.
With the win, Canada has a shot at its first gold medal at a world championship since 2006.
"We had a few options out of a play. There wasn't a one option," said McLachlan, who had a team-high 25 points and 18 rebounds. "Katie had been shooting really well. Cindy (Ouellet) is a great cutter. Tracey (Ferguson's) been playing a great game. We all had good games so it was just who got open and who got the good shot."
Added Harnock: "That is exactly how we drew it up, it doesn't happen very often, but that is the play that we drew up and I mean full credit to Janet, you get the ball with time running down and she nailed it. That was amazing."
Harnock added 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Canadians (6-1) while Ouellet added 16 points and 14 assists.
Inge Huitzing had a game-high 33 points for the Netherlands (6-1), who will have a chance at their first medal at a world championship when they play for bronze Saturday.
Canada erased a late eight-point, third-quarter deficit and trailed 52-51 heading into the fourth. The hosts then continued to pour it on as McLachlan and Ouellet drained early fourth-quarter points, part of an 8-0 run, to give Canada a 55-54 lead.
Canada stretched its lead to as many as seven points with three minutes remaining in the fourth and then with just over two minutes, McLachlan gave the hosts a nine-point lead.
"We changed up our defensive pressure we were putting on their top two threats," said Johnson of the second half turnaround. "They had most of their points, I mean 90 per cent of their scoring came from two people in the first half so we really wanted to change that up and make sure that wasn't the case anymore."
The Netherlands used a late 6-0 surge to carry a 40-34 lead into the break. Mariska Beijer lead the way with 18 points while Huitzing added 15 for the Dutch.
With the Dutch going on a 8-0 run at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter, Canada's coach called a timeout to regroup his troops.
'Tighten it up'
Huitzing led the way with 10 points as the Dutch held a 20-16 lead after one quarter.
"We knew that we let them score 40 points in the first half," McLachlan said. "We knew we had to tighten it up, we had 34 so it wasn't like we were having trouble scoring, we just had to tighten it up on our end."
Canada is looking for a seventh straight podium finish at the world championship. The Canadians won four straight gold medals from 1994 to 2006.
The Netherlands entered Friday's semifinal following a 62-52 win over China on Thursday. The Dutch went a perfect 5-0 through the round robin.
Canada got past the reigning Paralympic silver medalist Australia 63-47 on Thursday earning a berth in the semifinal. Canada finished the round robin as the Pool B runner up
Canada and the Netherlands have met on eight previous occasions in major international competitions dating back to 1992. Canada now holds an 8-1 record in international play over the Netherlands.
The world championship is a test event for the 2015 Parapan Games, which will be held at Toronto's Mattamy Athletic Centre. The tournament marked the first time the women's competition is being held separately from the men's due to the growth of the sport.