Canadian basketball women fall to Spain, will face France in quarter-finals
Canada drops group-stage finale
Spain rode a dominant fourth quarter to a comfortable 73-60 win over Canada on Sunday in the final round-robin game for both countries in the Olympic women's basketball tournament.
Canada kept the game close through three quarters before capitulating in the fourth. Spain outscored the Canadians 24-13 over the final 10 minutes.
With the victory, Spain finishes Group B in second place and will play Turkey in Tuesday's quarter-finals. Canada will take on France at 10 a.m. ET. (watch live on cbc.ca/olympics, the CBC Rio 2016 app and on CBC TV).
"It's a long tournament and we just have to leave this one behind us. We have to be at our best come the game against France," said Canada coach Lisa Thomaidis.
Canada, ranked ninth in the world, and No. 3 Spain entered play with identical 3-1 records, with each defeat coming by way of a blowout at the hands of the powerhouse United States.
No. 4 France and No. 10 Turkey each wound up 3-2 in Group A.
The top-ranked Americans beat No. 8 China (1-4) by a 105-62 margin earlier Sunday to finish a perfect 5-0 and will meet No. 16 Japan in the quarters.
The other matchup sees Group A winners Australia (5-0), ranked No. 2, take on No. 14 Serbia (2-3).
Nirra Fields led the way for Canada with 13 points.
Alba Torrens paced Spain with 20 points.
Spain led 17-16 after the first quarter and 33-29 at the break after Marta Xargay's bank-shot three-pointer at the buzzer.
Spain jumped out to a 47-35 lead in the third quarter thanks to a 14-6 run, but Canada responded with a 12-2 charge of its own with Torrens on the bench in foul trouble to trail 49-47 heading to the fourth.
But the Spaniards scored the first 11 points of the fourth quarter before Hamilton's Kia Nurse finally sunk 1 of 2 free throws with under five minutes to go. The Canadians never seriously threatened to cut into Spain's lead for the remainder of the game.
Canada reached London 2012 quarters
Canada now has to put this loss away and prepare for the quarter-finals. The Canadians are 3-4 all-time against France in tournament play, including a 64-60 loss in the preliminary in London.
"France is an opponent we know very well," Thomaidis said. "We've played them a number of times over the last few years and we'll be well-prepared for them."
Canada made it to the quarters at the London Olympics four years ago — the team's first appearance at a Games since 2000 — to begin the momentum towards Rio that included an historic gold medal at last summer's Pan Am Games in Toronto.
The roster from that memorable tournament remains unchanged in Brazil.
The Canadians were coming off an 81-51 loss to the U.S. after reeling off three straight wins to open the tournament, but could take some solace in fact they are the only team to keep the American juggernaut under 100 points.
Canada's only other competitive games against the Spaniards prior to Sunday were at the world championships — a 70-65 victory in 1994 and an 85-57 loss in 2006.
Spain also beat Canada 77-54 in an Olympic tuneup in June.