Canada’s women surprise world’s best in wheelchair basketball victory

Canadians now look toward the Parapan Am Games which serves as the Paralympic qualifier

Kady Dandeneau (13) of Team Canada attempts a shot in the fourth quarter against Team Netherlands. Dandeneau made her national debut in 2017.  Marcus Rebelo/Toronto Observer

Toronto Raptors weren’t the only basketball team in Canada to take a significant victory on Thursday night.

Team Canada defeated top-ranked Team Netherlands, 54-52, in an international friendly women’s wheelchair basketball game at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

Arinn Young led Canada with 13 points, while Cindy Ouellet, who had 10 points, and Kady Dandeneau with seven, provided secondary scoring.

The Dutch went on a 13-4 run to close out the last 6:19, but fell just short while they missed a few key shots in the final minute.

Canada’s head coach Marc Antoine Ducharme believes the game plan gave his squad an edge.

“We made some adjustments, put pressure on them early—made them tired,” said Ducharme, following the exhibition matchup. “At the end of the game they missed because we pressed and it paid off.”

At the last two major events, Canada has suffered quarter-final defeats. The 2016 Rio Paralympics saw them defeated by the Netherlands, and China handed the Canadians their loss at the 2018 World Championships.

It was at those Worlds where Team Netherlands would win its first ever global title, as they carried a three-year unbeaten streak into the international friendly.

Canada’s Ducharme now looks ahead to a potential match up with the reigning world champions at the Paralympic games in Tokyo next year.

“When we play them again when it matters, in their mind they are going to know now that we can beat them and that’s a huge difference,” said the 39-year-old.

“Now we can set doubt in their mind, which is awesome and they played their strongest lineup getting set for their Paralympic qualifier.”

Netherlands will host their qualifier, the European Championships, in two weeks, while Canada’s road to Tokyo begins at the Parapan Games, starting Aug. 23 in Lima, Peru.

As the Canadians get set for Lima, Dandeneau assures of a strong performance come August.

“Not to take any team lightly but we just took down the number one team in the world so we’re going to come out [in Lima] to compete and win,” said Dandeneau. “It’s definitely a confidence booster.”

After winning the first three Paralympic gold medals in the history of women’s wheelchair basketball (1992, 1996, and 2000) with a decade long unbeaten streak, Canada has yet to reclaim gold.

Their quest starts in Lima, as Thursday’s success could be the beginning of another Paralympic run.

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Posted: Jun 16 2019 12:53 am
Filed under: Basketball Parasports