Canada’s women’s basketball squad escaped with a 71-63 win over Japan in the final classification game of the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women to book the last ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.
Courtnay Pilypaitis had a huge game that came at a perfect time as she racked up 21 points and six assists, helping Canada earn the last of the five Olympic slots at stake in the Women’s Olympic Qualifiers.
“I think this is real big,” Pilypaitis said. “All the young female basketball players now are going to be able to watch us compete at the Olympics and they too can have that dream.”
Playing with a lot of sense of urgency, Canada was in full-battle gear right from the opening tip as they quickly built an 11-0 lead. Japan countered with their own attack, but the Canadians managed to retain a four-point lead at the half.
Just like how they started the game, Canada unleashed another huge rally in the third period that caught the Japanese by surprise that led to the Canadians taking a comfortable 52-35 lead heading into the final period.
Japan threatened to make another comeback in the final period, but the Canadians weathered the storm to escape with the huge win, thus joining Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, and France as qualifiers to the 2012 London Games.
Canada coach Allison McNeill was delighted with the win and expressed confidence that they can pull of surprises in London despite not being in the circle of favorites to win the gold medal.
“Are we a favorite going in? Well, of course, we’re not a favorite going in,” McNeill said. “But I think on any given night if we play well I think people will be concerned about having to play us.”