Canadian women's basketball team books spot in Olympic qualifying tournament
Canada punches ticket with 70-53 win over Colombia in pre-qualifying play
The Canadian women's basketball team booked its spot in February's FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a 70-53 win over Colombia on Friday night.
Bridget Carleton had 21 points as Canada won its second straight game at the pre-qualifying tournament in Medellín, Colombia.
Carleton also had 10 defensive rebounds in the win.
Kayla Alexander had 20 points and 14 rebounds as the Canadian starters proved to be too much for their South American counterparts.
Next stop for Canada 🇨🇦, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIBAOQT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIBAOQT</a> ! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AmeriCupW?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AmeriCupW</a> <a href="https://t.co/LVgAg4gGMc">pic.twitter.com/LVgAg4gGMc</a>—@americupw
"I have to say, [Kayla was] the key of the game," Canada Head Coach Víctor Lapeña said. "The key was, all the time, to punish them on offence and protect the rim on defence. She did a great job, especially because she guarded No. 6 [Yuliany Paz], and it's very difficult to defend her.
"On offence, it was playing from post up, reading the situation, diving from the free throw line. Especially when we didn't score, she got offensive rebounds. She's one of our captains, one of our leaders. She was fantastic."
Manuela Rios and Jenifer Munoz had 16 and 14 points, respectively.
Canada will next take on Puerto Rico on the final day of the tournament on Sunday.
Puerto Rico beat Venezuela 65-57 on Friday.
"What we have to do now is think that the next game against Puerto Rico is very important for us to keep building the team," Lapeña said. "It's not done for me. We have to see tomorrow, we have to keep growing, keep doing things better and looking for February. We need to enjoy this moment and then we'll reflect on what we need to do for February."
With files from CBC Sports, Canada Basketball