It was a down-and-up day for Canada’s women’s 3×3 basketball team at the World Cup on Tuesday.
The reigning silver medalists and Women’s Series Finals champions were stunned 20-18 in overtime by the Czech Republic before rebounding to defeat rival U.S. 16-13 on Tuesday in Vienna, Austria.
The Czechs stayed tight with Canada throughout the game, even taking a two-point lead with under 30 seconds left that was eventually erased by a buzzer-beating layup from Canada’s Michelle Plouffe.
In OT, in which the first team to two points wins, the Czechs’ Kateřina Galíčková provided the dagger with her team’s fifth make from beyond the arc. Canada, meanwhile, made just one of its 10 two-point attempts. In 3×3, made baskets are counted by ones and twos.
Versus the U.S., Canada flirted with complete disaster, falling behind 7-1 in the early going.
That’s when Plouffe put the team on her back yet again, eventually tallying eight points and five rebounds in the victory.
Canada’s team of Plouffe, her sister Katherine Plouffe, Paige Crozon and Kacie Bosch roared through the 2022 season. After starting with a second-place finish in their World Cup debut, the foursome did not lose a single game together for the remainder of the year.
The goals for this year, then, were simple: upgrade that World Cup silver to gold, and find a way to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The team was handed a boost on both fronts with the hiring of longtime national team player Kim Gaucher as head coach last week.
Canada returns to the court Thursday when it wraps group play with games versus Mongolia (7 a.m. ET) and Hungary (9 a.m. ET).
The top team from each of four pools advances directly to the quarterfinals, while the second- and third-place teams earn berths in a play-in round of a single-game knockout tournament which starts Saturday. Medal games are slated for Sunday.