Team Canada improved to 2-0 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics with a dominating 61-35 win over Japan in women’s wheelchair basketball.
Kady Dandeneau led the way with 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists off the bench, while Arinn Young added 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Cindy Ouellet chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
“Dandeneau came off the bench fresh,” said women’s head coach, Marc Antoine Ducharme, who celebrated his birthday on Friday. “We put the starting lineup together to press Japan full-court and then afterwards, Kady came in. Kady is just Kady. She can score from everywhere. She did an amazing job from the bench.”
After Japan (1-1) opened the tournament with a 54-48 win over Great Britain, Canada (2-0) knew they would need to be defensively sound against the host nation.
“The plan was, right at the beginning to press them full-court and make sure we have good chair contact and don’t let Japan have open shots – make sure they don’t have any rhythm,” Ducharme explained.
Canada held Japan to just 16 of 62 from the field and didn’t allow Japan to score from beyond the arc. Team Canada meanwhile shot 40 per cent from the field and went 4 for 9 from three-point range in the win.
“We knew Japan was going to be coming out at us firing on all cylinders and we just knew that we had to play in space to let them jump out on us and then we’d get the easy buckets inside or have a really nice open outside shot,” said Young. “Obviously, the first quarter worked for us and we established that lead early on and then it was kind of game on after that.”
Men drop heartbreaker in OT
Nik Goncin had a triple-double and Patrick Anderson added 24 points and 22 rebounds as Canada fell 77-73 to Turkey in men’s wheelchair basketball.
Goncin finished with 33 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists and went 4 of 5 from three-point range in the loss.
Canada (0-2) finished 30 of 70 from the field and shot 44 per cent from three-point range.
“Keep learning. We learned when we play with heart and when we play with intensity when we play with discipline and we play together with unity is when we get the most out of our team,” said head coach Matteo Feriani of the message to his team. “We have to keep learning that.”
Anderson sprung Goncin for the game-tying basket with six seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. In the extra frame, Anderson had an opportunity to tie the game at 76 but could not get his shot to drop.
“That was probably the most wide-open look I’ve had in my entire career,” Anderson said of the missed three-pointer. “Those kind of set plays are notoriously really hard to pull off. Suddenly I had a great look, put it up and felt good about it and it didn’t go. Couldn’t have hoped for a better look. That’s probably the most bitter pill to swallow looking back at the game.”
The 42-year-old had an excellent second half after registering just eight points through the first two periods, Anderson scored 14 third quarter points on 6 of 11 shooting to help Canada open a 54-45 lead.
“I just got to bottle that and then chug it for the other three quarters plus overtime,” Anderson said. “It’s weird. I’m still finding my rhythm. I had zero rhythm in the first half, and then I found it there in the third.
“The inconsistency burns me. But hey, I know what I am capable of personally and the guys have my back and are encouraging and supportive. That’s what’s great about team sports; even when you miss five in a row, your teammates are like, ‘hey, you got the next one’. That means a lot.”
Remaining Team Canada Tokyo Preliminary Round Schedule
Saturday, August 28: Japan vs. Canada 1:45 a.m. ET
Sunday, August 29: Canada vs. Korea 4:00 a.m. ET
Sunday, August 29: Colombia vs Canada 8:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, August 28: Germany vs. Canada 4:00 a.m. ET
Sunday, August 29: Canada vs. Australia 7:30 a.m. ET
Press release & photo: Wheelchair Basketball Canada