Road To The Olympic Games

Recap

Canada's Achonwa leads women's basketball team past Japan in pre-worlds tuneup

Natalie Achonwa had a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds as Canada hung on to beat Japan 76-69 on Friday in an exhibition tune-up for the 2018 World Cup.

Forward scores game-high 16 points, adds 11 rebounds

Natalie Achonwa, pictured at the Rio Olympics in 2016, helped Canada to a 76-69 victory over Japan in exhibition play. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Natalie Achonwa had a game-high 16 points and 11 rebounds as Canada hung on to beat Japan 76-69 on Friday in an exhibition tune-up for the 2018 World Cup.

Miranda Ayim added 15 points for Canada while Kia Nurse chipped in 10. Evelyn Mawuli had a team-high 15 points for Japan. 

Head coach Lisa Thomaidis named her 12-player roster Wednesday ahead of the two-game exhibition series that includes a matchup against the United States on Saturday.

"It was just great to be on the floor with our final 12 [players] as we're heading into the World Cup," said Ayim. "It's nice to get that rhythm back. There's more to be found in that rhythm going forward but I think it was a good first game and we saw what we need to work on."

The Canadians held Japan to just 11 points in the first quarter and led 42-26 at the break.

"We're still pretty much in the early phases of forming our team and figuring out what we're going to be able to be successful with. It was great to play another team finally, not just against ourselves," said Thomaidis.

The women's World Cup is Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain.

The Canadian women are ranked fifth in the world, and qualified for their ninth World Cup appearance by winning the FIBA AmeriCup tournament last summer.

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