Sunday, September 2, 2012
London, England — Yesterday at London’s Basketball Arena, the Canada women’s national wheelchair basketball team earned their first victory of the London Paralympics when they defeated the Australia women’s national wheelchair basketball team 57–50.
Canada took a one point lead into the second half, when the scores were 33–32 because of a last minute foul that sent Canada to the free throw line where they capitalized by making one of their shots. 4.5 point player Janet McLachlan and 2 point player Katie Harnock dominated in minutes played for Canada during the first half, playing all 20 minutes and leading their team in scoring with 11 first half points for McLachlan and 12 for Harnock. The Canadian team was loudly supported by spectators, earning more cheering from the largely Great Britain supporting fans than the Australians.
The second half saw Canada slowly increase their lead, keeping tied with Australia 4–4 in the first half of third, 6–4 in the last half of the third, 6–4 in the first half of the fourth, and 8–6 in the last half of the fourth. McLachlan finished the game as Canada’s leading scorer with 28 total, 17 in the second half. Harnock had a quieter second half only scoring 2 points to finish with 14. Cindy Ouellett was the team’s third leading scorer, finishing the game with ten.
The Canadian team supported their team from the bench, chanting “Get it out! Get it out!” when on defense and “Let’s go Canada” when on the offense. Other times, one player led the team in chanting support for their players on the court. The team was consistently louder than the Australian bench.
Throughout the game, the Canadians tipped themselves over more in their chairs than the Australians. Ouellett tipped once, and bounced in her chair, with a wheel leaving the ground as she attempted to block shots and steal the ball. Ouellett and Australian Cobi Crispin locked wheels, and required a break in the game where Australia’s coach came on to the court and removed Ouellett’s wheel to detach the pair before putting it back on again.
Following the game, Australia’s Amber Merritt said of playing Canada, “I have the utmost respect for Canada. They’re a great team, but we’ll refocus on the game tomorrow [against the Netherlands] and go out and play like we know we can, the Australian way.”
Prior to the start of the game, McLachlan was the team’s dominating player in the competition. She was ranked eighth in the competition in field goal percentage, and was Canada’a highest ranked player in this category. She ranked second in the tournament in total field goals made per game, with 12. Teammate Katie Harnock ranked eighth. Tara Feser ranked fourth in the tournament for 2 point field goal percentage at 57.1%, while McLachlan ranked ninth with 50.0%. McLachlan was second in 2 point field goals made per game, at 12. Harnock was tied for first with Mexico’s Floralia Estrada Bernal in the competition for 3 point field goal percentage at 20%, and was ranked second in the tournament for most 3 point field goals made with one.
As a team coming into the game, Canada was ranked sixth in total field goal percentage, eighth in free throw percentage, sixth in average rebounds per game, second in fouls, and last in turnovers.
Coming into this game, Canada had lost their first game 70–59 to the Netherlands. They are scheduled to play Brazil today.