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Canada tops U.S. U24 team for 3rd straight 3×3 basketball Women’s Series title in Quebec

Canada collected its third consecutive title of the 2023 3×3 basketball Women’s Series on Saturday with a 21-19 victory over the American under-24 squad in the final in Quebec City.

With the Americans pressing to tie the game late, Michelle Plouffe delivered the dagger with a two-point shot to reach the target score of 21.

Michelle and twin sister Katherine Plouffe of Edmonton combined with Paige Crozon of Humboldt, Sask., and Jamie Scott — born in Pasco, Wash., — to collect Canada’s 15th straight win of the 3×3 basketball Women’s Series, which featured two other perfect tournaments at the Edmonton stop on Jul. 30 and in Prague on Aug. 5.

Crozon — who missed Canada’s last victory in Prague — returned to the Canadian lineup after Kacie Bosch of Lethbridge, Alta., participated in Canada’s three other series victories in Edmonton, Prague and Poitiers, France on Jun. 28.

The win moved Canada into fourth place in the standings, only behind China, France and the Neftchi team out of Azerbaijan.

The American under-24 team featured a star-studded roster in Quebec, led by two-time First Team All-ACC guard Hailey Van Lith — who transferred from Louisville to reigning national champion LSU this summer — and the towering Cameron Brink, who won a national championship with Stanford in 2021.

The American team lost by just two points to Canada in pool play on Friday in a 16-14 nail-biter, setting the stage for an epic rematch on Saturday night.

The American team got off to a great start when Van Lith drove to the basket to draw an and-one basket, which was quickly followed up by a deep two-pointer by Sydney Leah Taylor to take a 6-3 lead.

The teams went back and forth from there in a chippy game that saw the two powerhouses knotted at 10 with five minutes remaining, with Canada also racking up six fouls to the U.S.’s four.

Canada started to pull ahead on a 5-0 run highlighted by Crozon’s two made foul shots after the Americans committed their seventh foul of the game.

Not to be denied, Brink delivered multiple big plays down the stretch to keep the U.S. within one with a minute and a half remaining, and Van Lith’s drive tied it up at 19.

With both teams just two points away from the target score of 21, Michelle Plouffe did not squander her opportunity, draining an off-balance, contested two over Taylor to reach a game-high nine points and secure the victory with one minute left on the clock.

Steve Carr

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