Canada go back-to-back in FIBA 3x3 Prague Stop 2023
Prague (Czech Republic) - Canada fight back to defeat France 20-17 to go back-to-back in the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Prague Stop 2023 on August 4 - 5.
Let’s look back on the fourteenth stop of the season.
The Winners: Canada
Though they were without sharpshooter Paige Crozon, Canada had all the momentum in their favor heading into the event after picking up the stop win in Edmonton. They did have Jamie Scott and Kacie Bosch who would be the spark plugs, while the iconic duo of the Plouffe sisters would look to dominate.
Day 1 was a glimpse into that philosophy. First taking on a full-strength Czech Republic side in front of home support. They fought hard through committee, an even contribution from the team only to fall short to a monstrous performance by Katherine Plouffe who put up 10 points and 7 rebounds. Her sister went off in the next game against an Italian side that sorely missed the fire of Raelin D’Alie.
They went up against a Clinical Lithuania side that has proven to be a problematic matchup for most teams they go up against. While a close affair thanks to the efforts of Kamile Nacickaite and Monika Grigalauskyte, it was the Plouffe sisters yet again that just proved to be unshakable. Their toughest battle came against Spain. Both teams found themselves nullifying the others threats, defensively guarding the paint spectacularly. Though it took a few shots to get going, Katherine Plouffe proved to be the deciding factor as her 8-point effort granted the team to win as Michelle orchestrated the team’s offense. It was a narrow but important win as Canada headed onto the finals.
It was a youthful French side, without any of the core that won silver in the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023. Their start reflected their lack of cohesion to begin with as they suffered a shock defeat to Israel off the back of an incredibly clutch performance by Dor Saar. Two twos in a row put it almost out of reach for France who somehow managed to reduce the deficit to just one.
They did strike back in a must-win game against Gyor. The game offered an insight into their gameplan. They would go on to play a defensively stifling system while putting pressure on the rim. Anna Ngo Ndjock and Coline Franchelin got huge buckets that handed the French women a crucial win.
It was a huge rebounding display for Les Bleues against Chile as it proved to be the difference, taking them to the semi-finals in what was undoubtedly the game of the tournament.
The home side had found their groove after a loss in the opener against Canada. The team was clicking and had their sights set on the prize. Whilst it was a back-and-forth for the most part, Czech Republic had started to pull away, even holding a 6 point lead near the halfway mark. The final minute however, Ndjock went OFF!
She put up the last four buckets of the game being down by three to claw France back, even putting up the winning bucket with 3 seconds to go as they pulled off a miraculous win at the death, silencing the home crowd and booking themselves a spot in the finals.
Canada 20 - 17 France
It was gonna be the battle between two philosophies: speed vs power. Canada have the physicality with Michelle and Katherine Plouffe while Ndjock and Franchelin have been the rapid speedsters that teams didn’t have an answer for.
Earlier on, it was France getting the calls as they went to the line numerous times. Franchelin shone for France, getting to the rim at will.
It seemed like France had it won, the crowd on their side. Ndjock put them up three with two minutes to go, but that’s where the French would hit a wall, finding themselves unable to pass through the Plouffes. It was them that ran the show near the end, getting buckets at will with their strength. Michelle Plouffe, who had been the heart of the Canadian side, took no prisoners, extending the lead to 19 - 17 all before setting up her sister with a slick pass to seal the game. It was the team’s third win in the Series, marking a strong challenge to retain the crown of Women’s Series this season.
MVP - Michelle Plouffe
It was the World Number 1 yet again, putting up a whopping 46 points. 15 of them came in the crucial finals game against France where she took over near the end to take her side to the promised land. Her offensive and defensive contributions every game make her the best player in the world for a reason.
4. Czech Republic
8. Gyor (HUN)
10. Dusseldorf ZOOS (GER)
The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series heads to Poland next as the Katowice stop 2023 takes place on August 14 - 15.