Canada pull away with dramatic OT win in FIBA 3x3 Edmonton Stop 2023
Edmonton (Canada) - Canada revel in home support as they won 16 - 14 in OT Thriller in the FIBA 3x3 Edmonton Stop 2023 on July 29 - 30.
Here’s how it went down on the thirteenth stop of the season.
The Winners: Canada
The women from Canada were the favorites heading into the event, full strength again with the Plouffe sisters reunited on the court. It took no time for them to connect, taking care of a gritty Poland side in the opener. Katherine Plouffe took over in their next game against Japan, grabbing 8 crucial rebounds and putting up 7 points to finish day 1 spotless.
It was the Paige Crozon show in the Quarter-finals who went 4-8 from beyond the arc, scoring 10 points to take care of a sharpshooting Chile side.
The Plouffe connection was on full display in the Semi-finals against team USA. Their tenacious defense never allowed their opposition to get going, smothering them while getting shots in the paint through the telepathic bond the Canadians share.
Without Lili Wang to run the show, the queens of this year’s Women’s Series had to improvise. The lack of a true point guard caused them to rely on shooting their way out of slumps or feeding the bigs, the roster with Mingling Chen and Kun Huang made the cogs fit.
Though offense kept them afloat in their initial games, especially against team USA U24 as Huang led the side in scoring with 6, it was their defense that proved to be pivotal. They played physically, not afraid to give up fouls as they made sure their opposition never picked up momentum.
The knockout phase started off with a battle. The game against Germany went down to the wire with Sonja Greinacher at the helm of it all. She scored the bucket that took the game to OT. She was fouled early in the same, managing to convert only one of the two she was awarded. Opportunities came begging for both sides but neither could find the final nail. Ultimately, it was the sheer strength of Mingling Chen that allowed them to get two buckets in the paint that gave them the win.
Another close affair in the semi-finals awaited China, this time against recent winners in France. An intense defensive battle unfurled, coming down to a layup by Ji Yuan Wan that gave China a one point lead with time running out. France’s Marie Milapie had the opportunity to tie the game with a layup which she missed. China were sent to the line where Chen iced the game.
It set up the enticing final between two of the strongest sides in the competition - China against Canada.
Canada 16 - 14 China
It was back-and-forth throughout, but China held the upper-hand for most of it. Kun Huang who had struggled to get going in Edmonton found her rhythm, putting up 8 points of their 14 while going 3-4 from deep.
Yet, Canada knew what needed to be done. Their defense stifled the bigs in Wan and Chen to get rolling. Their willingness to battle gave them the upper-hand on the rebounding side of things, which ultimately turned out to be the deciding factor.
With a minute to go, China held a 3-point lead, seemingly in the clear. Yet it was the Plouffe sisters that came in clutch. They scored a second-chance bucket off a rebound before Michelle Plouffe buried a crucial two to take the game to OT.
It was a similar story then as well, as Michelle Plouffe got the rebound and bucket to hand Canada the advantage. She found her sister just a couple plays later as Katherine Plouffe sunk the layup. It was Canada’s win all along in Edmonton.
MVP - Michelle Plouffe
The World Number 1 was on fire from the jump, finishing the event with 35 points. Her impact goes far beyond that as her rebounding and playmaking proved to be pivotal in the team’s success.
She thrived when the lights were the brightest in the finals as she put up 11 points and 6 rebounds to take her side to victory.
6. USA U24
9. Gyor (HUN)
10. New Zealand
The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series heads to China next as the Yichang stop 2023 takes place on August 4-5.