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Canada’s 3×3 basketball team drops women’s semifinal in France to eventual champs Spain

Canada followed heartbreak in the 3×3 basketball World Cup in early June with a semifinal loss in its Women’s Series season debut on Saturday in Orléans, France.

After a Katherine Plouffe point from under the basketball tied it 18-18, Spain scored three consecutive points to advance to the final, where it prevailed 17-14 over the United States. The Americans earned their semifinal over France, which downed the Canadians three weeks ago at the World Cup in Vienna, Austria.

Spain has collected all three 3×3 meetings with Canada — last year at the World Cup in pool play and in Quebec in pool action at a Women’s Series tournament.

Canada’s 21-18 defeat at the hands of the Spaniards came fewer than two hours after it received a scare from China’s Sc. Yuanda before eking out a 20-18 overtime decision in the quarterfinals in a game played in 30 C heat.

Sandra Gueravide made it 19-18 Spain with her fourth point before watching teammate Vega Gimeno sink each of her two free throws after Michelle Plouffe was assessed Canada’s 10th foul of the match.

Spain held an 11-8 advantage with 4:30 left but Michelle Plouffe muscled her way inside the paint to make it a two-point contest.

Gracia Alonso had a glorious opportunity to extend Spain’s lead to 13-8 but missed a pair of free throws.

The Canadians soon drew even at 11-11 on a Katherine Plouffe foul shot. She topped Canada with 10 points but also had five turnovers. Her sister added seven points and three blocked shots.

Spain again went up 13-11, only to watch its opened claw back on two Michelle Plouffe baskets.

With a little more than two minutes on the clock and Spain ahead 14-12, Paige Crozon missed twice but redeemed herself with a steal and a point to make it 16-16.

Kacie Bosch and Crozon combined for only one point, with the latter 1-for-3 from the field and 0-for-3 on two-point attempts.

Spain, meanwhile, had a balanced scoring attack, led by Gimeno’s seven points. Juana Camilion Cuccaro and Alonso added five points apiece.

Earlier Saturday, Sc. Yuanda led Canada 9-5 with 6:40 left but the Canadians chipped away, going on a 5-0 run that culminated in a Katherine Plouffe basket.

Neither side led by more than two points the rest of the way.

Sc Yuanda led 18-16 when Michelle Plouffe cut the lead in half after a miss. The Chinese squad missed a free throw to increase its advantage and Katherine Plouffe tied it with 35 seconds left.

In OT, Crozon missed a two-pointer but Katherine Plouffe scored to break the tie. Plouffe then was denied at the net and missed another shot while Sc. Yuanda couldn’t make good on two-point shots.

Canada put the game away when Crozon received a Katherine Plouffe pass and drove the net unguarded for a layup and the winning basket.

Steve Carr

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