SportMedBC’s Misty Thomas is playing for Canada’s Wheelchair Basketball Team: Below is a description of their opening game.
Canada Routs Netherlands to Open Beijing Paralympics
Team Canada women crushed the Netherlands Monday in Beijing at the Paralympic Games 59-32 to start the tournament with a statement.
In the first quarter, things were rather dull as both teams were tentative, but about two and a half minutes in, Kendra Ohama stole the ball then fed Lori Radke who in turn dished to Misty Thomas for the opening 2 points of the game. Canada would never relinquish that lead en route to victory. Radke and then Jennifer Krempien then scored in succession to vault Canada to a 6-0 lead. Chantal Benoit then broke the press to score two baskets, and as the period ended Canada sat with a comfortable 16-6 lead.
The second quarter saw more Canadians get in to the act as the Canadian full court defense continued to frustrate the top shooters from the Netherlands. Cindy Ouellet and Katie Harnock entered the game and took virtually no time to add their names to the scorebook with a couple of hoops each. Meanwhile the defensive pressure was wearing away at the Dutch offense. The half ended with Canada up 29-16, and with a bit of luck the score could have been even higher as Canada had lots of good chances.
The third quarter was a continuation as Ohama and Benoit scored early to increase the lead. Canada then had a bit of a lull as one of the tall Netherlands post players was able to get inside. The defensive lapse was matched with an offensive lapse and the lead dwindled to 10 points at 34-24 before the tide turned. It was Ouellet with two baskets on the press break and Thomas with one as just as suddenly the score was 43-26.
The final frame was mostly Canada’s game to control so in came Tara Feser and Janet McLachlan to immediately make an impact by scoring. By this time the Dutch had pretty well conceded so Canada called off the press and cruised to the 59-36 victory.
Top scorer for Canada was Chantal Benoit with 14, followed by Misty Thomas with 11, Cindy Ouellet with 10 and Kendra Ohama with 6. Thomas added 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Canada had a very solid game against a much improved Dutch team, shooting 44% from the field, 63% from the charity stripe and giving a stingy 10 turnovers to the Netherlands’ 22. The Netherlands poor shooting at 25% was the hot topic at the press conference afterwards, but it was really the result of Canada’s tenacious and persistent defense.
Next up for Canada in pool play is Japan on Tuesday, China Wednesday and Mexico Thursday. For complete results and box scores, please check out the Beijing Paralympics website.