In front of a near-capacity crowd at Taipei Arena with hundreds of flags waving in support of the host Chinese Taipei, Team Canada women’s basketball lost 76-67 in their quarter-final, one of the highlights of Day 7 at the Taipei Universiade.
From the start the crowd was electric, cheering and waving flags for every turnover or miss by the Canadians, but especially every made basket for Chinese Taipei – which included their go-ahead basket at the buzzer to make 18-17 for the hosts after one quarter.
“Even though they’re cheering against you, I found it motivated me because I just wanted to play in front of all these people,” said Alison Keough (Cape Breton University). “Sure they’re cheering against us, obviously, it gave them momentum, but we were trying to feed off you too.”
The Canadians were unable to close the gap as the hosts pushed their lead to six at halftime and heading into the final 10 minutes found themselves down by 10. Chinese Taipei’s slight advantage in shooting percentage ended up making the difference as their 50 per cent from the field compared to Canada’s 41 per cent. The crowd never letting up their support of their home country seemed to help as well.
“The place was jammed and every time they scored you couldn’t even hear yourself think – it was insane,” said Keough. “It gave Taipei a bunch of momentum. I thought we fought hard right until the end, we just came up short. The third quarter they were hitting every shot. We would close out, had our hands down and it didn’t even matter if we were right in front of them, they were shooting and got hot in the third quarter when they pulled away.”
Canada’s scoring was evenly distributed as Keough, Alex Kiss-Rusk (McGill University) and Paige Crozon (University of Utah) each finished with 10 points. The red and white’s Abigail Fogg led the team with 13 boards, while adding six points.
Canada will now play the United States on Saturday, August 26 at 5:30 a.m. Eastern time in the first of two 5-8th place games.
A dominant first quarter couldn’t carry the Canadian men’s basketball team to victory in their final pool play game as Germany emerged 85-73 victors. Needing a win of eight or more points to advance to the quarter-final, Canada got the start it needed with a 28-14 lead after one quarter of play. Germany switched to a zone defence in the second quarter and the change seemed to throw the Canadians out of their rhythm. Canada was outscored 19-12 overall to see their lead at halftime dip to seven points at 40-33. By the end of the third quarter Canada’s lead had evaporated and the score was knotted at 52-52. With momentum on their side, Germany opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run and Canada was never able to regain the lead. Germany controlled the tempo to emerge with the 85-73 win. The Canadians return to action on August 27.
The Canadian men’s volleyball team faced adversity on Friday, with Iran easily winning the duel 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-16) to push Canada into the Taipei Universiade classification round. Canada, who finished the preliminary round with a 2-3 record, almost never took the lead in the whole game, trailing 16-8, 16-10 and 16-9 at the technical timeouts of each set. Cameron Branch led the Maple Leaf in points and kills with eight, while Lucas Coleman had four digs, a team best. Canada can now only hope for a ninth position. It will play its first game of the classification round on Sunday, August 27.
The women's volleyball team had a placement match set against the Czech Republic, but were unable to get the win, dropping the game 3-1 (20-25, 25-14, 12-25, 17-25). Meg Casault led the red and white with 11 kills, while libero Anna Feore recorded a team-high 12 digs. Canada resumes play tomorrow.
Marc Olivier Kouo Dibongue provided all the offence, while goalkeeper Evan Barker was outstanding as Canada defeated the USA 2-0 on Friday. Playing in the 9-16 classification round, the Canadians scored in the 4th and 44th minutes. The USA fired nine shots on goal, including two penalty kicks, all of which were turned away by Barker. Canada will now play South Africa on August 27 at 4:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Women’s water polo
The women’s water polo team earned a convincing 24-5 win over Great Britain Friday, thanks to nine different scorers, including Elyse Lemay-Lavoie with five goals and Shae Fournier with four.
Canada had a strong start scoring five unanswered goals in the first quarter. Great Britain’s response came with only 30 seconds left in the first. The Brits had a good second quarter to come within five goals (4–9) at the half. The Canadian squad dominated the second half outscoring their opponents 15-1 to record a 24-5 victory.
“It's important to take every game experience as a learning one and bring it into the next one, especially in an eight-game tournament,” said Clara Vulpisi. “This game was a good way to start preparing for the elimination stage. We started off slow but by sticking to the game plan and working together, we were able to achieve the result that we wanted.”
“We played according to plan today. We came out strong but slowed down the pace in the first half. The team was asked to pick up the pace which they did,” commented Canada’s head coach, David Paradelo. “Our focus is now on quarter-finals tomorrow.”
Canada will face the United States in the quarter-finals Saturday, August 26 at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Men’s water polo
Canada's men's water polo team gutted out a 7-6 win over South Africa on Friday to advance to the 9-12 bracket. It was the second victory over South Africa, with Canada winning 8-4 in the preliminary round phase. Sean Spooner led the way with a hat-trick. Mike Chapman on the counterattack, Eric Graham from outside and Colin Colterjohn in a scramble added singles.
"The players responded well mentally from our tough loss in the crossover," said head coach Brian Parillo. "They didn't play their best water polo but we got the win."
Spooner pointed to the preparation as a key factor.
"With this being an early morning game, our 7 a.m. practices during training camp in Toronto really helped. The guys played really hard. Now we have to focus on Korea so that we can advance to the game for ninth place."
Canada’s duel against the Republic of Korea will take place on Sunday at midnight Eastern time.
Thursday's athletics action saw Aiyanna Stiverne narrowly miss the podium with a fourth-place finish in the women's 400m race while Benjamin Ayesu Attah finished fifth in his 400m final. Decathlete James Turner had a tough start to day two of his competition and he ultimately finished 12th overall. Cole Peterson ran to a 10th-place finish in the men's 1500m final.
Looking ahead, pole vaulters Paige Ridout and Deryk Theodore both qualified for their finals on August 26 and 27, respectively. In the men's 200m, James Linde will run in the final on August 26. A pair of women's 100m hurdles runners have also advanced to the semifinal on Saturday.
In the pool, Katerine Savard finished sixth in the 200m free final with a time of 1:59.21. The men's 4x200m free relay team finished seventh in their final at the end of the day, clocking in at 7:22.89. Tomorrow is the final day of racing, before marathon swimming wraps the event up on August 27.
Also in action
In diving, Ashley McCool and Eleana Dick competed in the women's 3m springboard event on Friday. McCool's eighth-place performance in the semifinals earned her a spot in the finals tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. ET. Dick did not qualify.
Men's and women's singles action began in table tennis on Friday and Canada had a number of athletes win their matches including Klement Yeung, James Pintea, Yen Chun Li, Lester Lee, Michelle Liaw, and Anqi Luo. Singles competition continues tomorrow.
On the golf course, Canada played another round of the Games at Sunrise Golf Club. The men's team improved to sixth place after their second round, while the women's team remained in 10th. Round three is set for tomorrow morning.
In taekwondo, Team Canada had its best finish of the event, with Andrea Jerom making it to the quarter-finals in the 53 Kg weight class. After defeating Krystel El Koussa (Lebanon) in the round of 32, and Francisca Rios Rojas (Chile) in the round of 16, she faced South Korea's Geumbyed Lim in the quarter-finals. Jerom was unable to get the win, dropping the bout 7-5. Lim went on to win the silver medal.