Title:Canada finally gets over French hill with enormous World Cup comeback
Date: September 25, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Canada’s chances in the FIBA Women’s World Cup and why a place on the podium could mean so much to the entire program.
As the Canadian women’s senior national team has slowly ascended the world rankings over the last decade, they’ve run into a consistent stumbling block. While they’ve continue to place well enough — two FIBA Americas titles, eighth- (2012) and seventh-place (2016) finishes at the last two Olympics, and a fifth-place finish at the 2014 World Cup — it has been France dictating Canada’s ceiling in the marquee world events.
In 2012, France edged Canada by four in a key round-robin game to help nudge Canada into a quarter-final matchup with the juggernaut United States. In 2014, France once again topped Canada by four, and although Canada would get a modicum of revenge, it came in the fifth-place side of the bracket. Their most disheartening loss came in 2016, a five-point France victory in the quarter-finals after Canada had turned in a strong round robin.
It has been frustrating for Canada, and with France drawing into their pool for the round robin of the 2018 Women’s World Cup, it was a hill they were going to have to finally climb, lest France dictate their finish once again. Even in their tune-up schedule for the tournament they couldn’t quite get France’s number, and there was some genuine concern how Canada would respond to the tournament’s top competition, knowing they’ve grown to where they reliably beat the teams they should beat at this point.
On Tuesday, Canada exorcised those demons in emphatic fashion, putting together one of the biggest comebacks — and most substantial round-robin victories — in the program’s history. Down as many as 15 at one point, Canada stormed back to tie the game in the final six minutes and then pull ahead for a dramatic 71-60 victory in Tenerife, Spain.