Canada into women’s World Cup basketball semis for 1st time since 1986

Canada's Natalie Achonwa, left, and teammate Kia Nurse walk from the court following their win over Puerto Rico in their quarterfinal game at the women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

No one on Canada’s roster was alive the last time the team won a medal at the women’s World Cup. Now the Canadians are a win away from securing one for the first time since 1986, when they captured the bronze.

Kia Nurse scored 17 points to lead a balanced Canada team to a 79-60 win over Puerto Rico on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

“It’s really special,” Nurse said. “It’s been a work in progress for us and we all felt the disappointments. Quarterfinals have been our downfall for a long time and to be able to get over that hump.

“I think our country is continuing to get really excited about basketball in the grassroots programs and this is just the start of what we can accomplish.”

Next up is a matchup Friday with the U.S., which beat Serbia 88-55.

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“It’s always our goal to win a quarterfinal and make it to the semifinals. The medal rounds is where we want to be,” Canada’s Bridget Carleton said.

READ MORE: Carleton’s 27 points leads Canada to win over Mali at FIBA women’s World Cup

The other semifinal will pit China against either Belgium or host Australia. China advanced with an 85-71 win over France. While the medal drought isn’t as long as Canada’s, China hasn’t won one since 1994 when the Asian nation took the silver.

Canada (5-1) and Puerto Rico were tied 4-4 before the Canadians scored the next 12 points to start a 22-7 burst to close the quarter.

The lead ballooned to 44-23 at the half. Puerto Rico couldn’t really cut into its deficit in the second half thanks in part to Nurse and the fact that Canada committed only four turnovers the entire game. After spending 11 months recovering from an ACL injury, she saw her first game action in the World Cup. She had her best game of the tournament against Puerto Rico.

The loss ended a great run for Puerto Rico, which advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in its history. The players hoped the unprecedented run could bring some joy to the island which is recovering from Hurricane Fiona.

“The word legacy sums it up,” said Arella Guirantes, who had 19 points to lead Puerto Rico (2-4). “To leave something like that for the youth that’s coming up is bigger than any win or loss that we can have… It means a lot to be a part of the beginning of a legacy.

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“I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll be back and will be better.”

Click to play video: 'Humboldt’s Crozon helps Canada clinch FIBA 3×3 women’s championship'
Humboldt’s Crozon helps Canada clinch FIBA 3×3 women’s championship

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