Canada rode a huge performance by Wumi Agunbiade to a 68-60 victory over Japan on Tuesday, and secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the FIBA under-19 women's world basketball championships.
Agunbiade, from Pickering, Ont., scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to top the surging Canadians, who improved to 5-0.
"We really wanted the pace to be our pace against Japan and keep the score low," Canada's coach Rich Chambers said. "Wumi was fantastic and she kept us in the game. We'll be first or second in this pool at the end of this [second] round."
The top four teams in each group advance to the quarter-finals.
Michelle Plouffe of Edmonton added 17 points, seven boards and three steals, while sister Katherine had six rebounds to go with six points. Korissa Williams of Windsor, Ont., added 11 points for the Canadians, who raced out to a 41-29 halftime lead and then withstood a 23-point third quarter by the Japanese (3-2).
"It was good for us to play a close game, and a good reality check for us," said Katherine Plouffe. "We know we can't get too high or too low, as the level of competition is getting higher. We have to keep playing our best, like we've been doing in order for us to keep winning."
Sanae Motokawa scored 20 points to top Japan, which managed to hold Nirra Fields of Lachine, Que., the tournament's leading scorer, to 11 points.
The Canadians will battle the United States on Wednesday to wrap up second-round play.