Canada downed by U.S. in women's basketball
Americans extend Olympic win streak to 45
By Joe Pack, CBC Sports
Canada lost 81-51 to the United States Friday in the women's basketball preliminary round in Rio.
It was a battle for first place in Group B and the U.S. (4-0) clinched the top spot with the win.
The American team pulled away in the second quarter, taking a 14-point lead into halftime.
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Team USA's Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi led the way, scoring 12 points each.
Canada (3-1) kept the score close early on, down 18-16 after one quarter, but it was a timeout by the Americans in the second that was the turning point in the match. Their defence clamped down, Moore scored two momentum-boosting baskets, and the United States outscored Canada 18-6 in the second quarter.
"I think we played really hard today on defence," U.S. guard Sue Bird told the Associated Press. "Everyone's been talking about our offence, but it's been our defence that has been the most consistent. Tonight was a good example of that. It wasn't that we couldn't score, but we just weren't scoring at the rate you saw in the first three games. It was our defence that was there for us to rely on."
Canada's Kia Nurse started the game 0-for-6 on three-point attempts and only scored her first field goal late in the third quarter. She finished with just three points in under 23 minutes of play. Canada sank just one field goal in the second stanza.
Second half a different story
The game was very physical and Canada was unable to remain assertive on offence. The Canadian side took just 25 shots in the first half, one in which it trailed 36-22 at the buzzer.
The United States dominated in offensive and defensive rebounds, outpacing Canada 43-25. The Americans shot 42 per cent from three-point distance while Canada shot 29 per cent.
Canada became the first team at the Rio Games to keep the Americans under 100 points. The United States has a combined plus-161 point differential over their four opponents this tournament.
Despite the loss, Canada has won more games (three) than it has in any other Olympics.
The U.S. team extended its Olympic winning streak to 45 games.
Canada will wrap up its preliminary round with a match against Spain on Sunday at 4:45 p.m. ET. Watch live on cbc.ca/olympics, the CBC Rio 2016 app and on CBC TV.