Canadian 3x3 basketball team tops France for 2nd straight Women's Series Final title
Paige Crozon scores decisive point, helping squad to its 6th tourney win of season
Canada won its second straight title at the FIBA 3x3 Women's Series Final on Sunday, topping France 16-15 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The championship basketball game served as a rematch of the 2022 Final that Canada won 21-16 in Constanța, Romania, with the defending champions returning all four players: Edmonton's Katherine and Michelle Plouffe, Paige Crozon of Humbolt, Sask., and Kacie Bosch of Lethbridge, Alta.
With France's Hortense Limouzin knotting the game 15-15 with just seven seconds remaining, Katherine Plouffe found Crozon just under the basket where she was able to corral the pass and hook the ball over Limouzin with no time remaining on the clock to secure Canada's sixth tournament victory of the season.
🎊 Canada 🇨🇦 are your <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/3x3WSUlaanbaatar?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#3x3WSUlaanbaatar</a> Final winners! 🎊<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/3x3WS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#3x3WS</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/CanBball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanBball</a> <a href="https://t.co/9ieZsT2Cjx">pic.twitter.com/9ieZsT2Cjx</a>—@FIBA3x3
"France is such a tough opponent," Crozon said. "We've played them so many times, both in the Women's Series and the World Cup. We have so much respect for what they do. That game came right down to the wire. It was a very emotional game. We're so happy to come out on top and be victorious in the Women's Series Final."
Katherine Plouffe led the way with 10 points in the final, while her sister Michelle received tournament MVP honours with 33 points throughout the entire five-game tournament.
"Our mindset … was let's do it for Michelle," Crozon said. "She's been the heart of our team and we really just wanted to represent our heart, and all that she's contributed, so we really tried to battle very hard for her down the stretch."
Canada entered the weekend third in the standings behind China and the Neftchi team out of Azerbaijan, but had won the most tournaments of any team with five, and received the tournament's No. 1 seed for its dominant play.
WATCH | Canada takes down France in final:
Two weeks ago, Canada won in Montreal for its fifth title of the season, capping a 15-0 record on home soil that also included tournament victories in Edmonton in July and Quebec City in August.
Canada secured its first title of the season in Poitiers, France, in June, and defeated France in the final of the Prague tournament in early August.
All five tournaments that Canada won leading into the Women's Series Final they did with a perfect 5-0 record, and Ulaanbaatar was no different, sweeping Mongolia (22-17), France (16-14) and Germany (21-13) in Pool A play on Saturday before dispatching the United States 21-12 in the semifinals on Sunday.
Crozon was immense in the semifinal, pouring in 10 points and blocking two shots in a game Canada had under control from the start.
"[The U.S. is] a great team," Crozon said. "They have so much talent. We've battled against them so many times throughout the women's 3x3 season so we have a lot of respect for all of the players on the team and their commitment to 3x3. It was definitely a battle. They fought to the end so it was a really good game."
WATCH | Canada tops U.S. in semifinals:
With files from Canada Basketball