Kim Smith scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a win over China Wednesday.
Sept. 21, 2006
SAO PAOLO, Brazil -- In a back and forth affair, Canada took the lead prior to the half and never looked back, defeating China 65-61. This was Canada's first game of the classification round at the 2006 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women. The Canadians will now advance on to play Argentina Thursday in a game to decide ninth and 10th placings.
Former University of Utah standout Kim Smith opened the scoring of the game by hitting her first shot, allowing Canada to take the early lead. The game stayed close throughout the quarter, but a Canadian turnover allowed China to take the 17-15 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter started off similar to the first with four lead changes in the first four minutes. Canada's low-post game seemed to prove dominant as Amanda Brown and Tammy Sutton-Brown held their ground, helping Canada grab the lead with five minutes to go in the half. Canada outscored the Chinese team 17-7 for the stanza and finished the half holding a 32-24 advantage.
Canada exploded in the third quarter with Smith hitting a three-pointer in the opening minute of play. Canada held an 11-point lead with eight minutes to go in the period, when China's Lijie Miao hit two three-pointers in a row, bringing the game within reach for China. Canada was outscored 21-14 for the quarter, however the Canucks still held a one-point lead (46-45) over the Chinese going into the final period of play.
Canada continued its strong play under the basket in the final quarter, allowing the Canadian women to control the tempo of the game. Canada held a slight lead with 40 seconds to go when Sutton-Brown came up with a big block, allowing Kleindienst to put the game to rest on a fast-break bucket. Canada tallied 19 points in the final quarter, while holding China to 16.
"This was our best defensive effort of the tournament," said Head Coach Allison McNeill. "We really controlled the rebounds, allowing us to make some clutch baskets in the end."
Smith paced Canada with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Kleindienst added 15 points,13 boards and eight assists, just missing a triple-double. Sutton-Brown was Canada's other double-digit scorer with 13 points and eight rebounds.