(Toronto, Ont.) Team Canada will face Germany for the gold medal at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship after a thrilling 75-74 win against the Netherlands on Friday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ont. With the win, Canada secures a spot on the podium for the seventh consecutive time at the world championship and will play for the gold medal at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 28.
The Dutch came out firing to start the semifinal game as Canada battled back through much of the opening 20 minutes. Despite Canada shooting 65 per cent in the first half, the Netherlands converted 14 points off of Canadian turnovers en route to a 40-34 lead at halftime.
Canada made it a one-point game going into the final frame as Elmira, Ont.’s Katie Harnock dropped a long, clutch two-pointer at the buzzer. Canada would regain the lead, 55-54, after a long pass by Janet McLachlan found Quebec City, Que., native Cindy Ouellet wide open for an uncontested layup. The Canadians seized the momentum with some clutch shooting down the stretch and held a nine-point lead with 2:30 remaining in the game.
The Netherlands refused to go down without a fight and erased the deficit to take a one-point lead, 74-73, with nine seconds left. On the next inbound play, Harnock found McLachlan at the far side and the Vancouver, B.C., native battled through some tight defensive coverage and used her size to drop a clutch two-pointer and give Canada the lead with 0.9 seconds left on the clock. The Dutch were able to regroup and get a final shot off but the ball bounced off the rim and out to seal the Canadian victory.
“I think we always just believed it would come together for us,” said Harnock. “I’ve said it a few times; this is the best I think we’ve ever played, since I’ve been on the team for sure. All of us are really hitting our stride and even when they were up by four, or six, there was never a feeling that they could take it away from us. There was always a belief we could bring it back.”
The veteran trio of McLachlan, Harnock and Ouellet delivered in a big way for the Canadian side. McLachlan finished with a double-double on the strength of 25 points and 18 rebounds. Harnock added 22 points and shot a blistering 79 per cent from the field. Ouellet also picked up a double-double with 16 points and a career-high 14 assists.
With a solid effort from start to finish, Inge Huitzing was the top point producer for the Netherlands with 33 points. Teammate Mariska Beijer also tallied 28 points.
The Netherlands will face the United States in the bronze medal game at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday.
The tournament is Canada’s first major test on the road to the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The tournament runs June 20-28 and is the largest women’s world championship in history, featuring teams from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru and the United States.
All games of the competition are being webcast live online through CBC Sports’ free desktop video player and SportsCanada.TV’s digital platforms, as well as through the official tournament website. Tickets are also on sale online and at the Mattamy Athletic Centre box office.
For complete results and more information please visit www.2014wheelchairbasketball.com / #2014wcbasketball.