Fields leads Canada to three-game sweep over China in Edmonton Grads Classic

By The Canadian Press
July 11, 2016 - 9:19pm

EDMONTON — Nirra Fields poured in a game-high 16 points as Canada's women's basketball team defeated China 71-59 on Monday to sweep the three-game Edmonton Grads International Classic series.

Miranda Ayim and Tamara Tatham added 10 points apiece while Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had eight rebounds for the Canadians, who downed China 82-63 in Game 1 on Saturday, then followed that up with a 74-62 victory on Sunday.

"Nirra's athletic ability and her speed and her ability to knock down open shots and create stuff for others is just tremendous," said head coach Lisa Thomaidis. "She's come a long way in the last few years and we're really happy with her progress."

China's top scorers were Zhi-fang Zhao and Xiao-jia Chen with 10 points apiece.

Canada shot 45 per cent from the field while limiting its opponent to just 35 per cent accuracy. The Canadians dominated inside for a second straight game, holding a 40-16 edge on points in the paint.

"We scored a lot in the paint and it's great for us to get that many paint touches and attempts at the rim, that's what we want," Thomaidis said. "Our players are really buying into that and not taking any bad shots. I think our shot quality has been quite good and it's been reflected in our field-goal percentage."

Canada got off to its best start of the series, racing out to a 12-5 advantage early, but Xiao-jia Chen hit a three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer to cut Canada's lead to 16-12.

China continued to climb back into the game and pulled within one point of Canada, 22-21, midway through the second quarter before Fields took over, first draining with a three-pointer and then hitting a running bank shot to put Canada back up by six. Fields then scored from in tight as time expired to send Canada into the locker room with a 35-28 lead.

Canada started the second half strong, jumping ahead to its first double-digit lead of the night, 41-31 early in the third. China battled back with a late surge, and Canada led 47-39 heading into the final quarter.

China pulled to within 60-53 with less than four minutes to play before Fields drilled a three from the corner to halt any hopes of a Chinese comeback.

The Canadian Press

©2016 The Canadian Press

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