The Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team was in great form Friday morning as it breezed past Japan 61-35 in a dominating performance on the court.
Canada has been spectacular in every aspect of the opening games in Tokyo, but energetic, lockdown defence has been the key to its immense success.
“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,” said head coach Marc Antoine Ducharme. “Make sure they don’t have any rhythm. That set the tone in the first quarter.”
Team Canada held Japan to only 35 points as the Japanese struggled to break through the defence, going 26 per cent from the field. This dominating defensive performance only allowed the Japanese an average of 8.75 points per quarter.
The Canucks have outscored the opposition by 45 points throughout the two games played so far. The sublime effort on defence was complemented by solid shooting and slick ball movement, which gave them a substantial edge against Japan.
“We’re playing so well together and we are such a big family that it was nice to get this win,” said Arinn Young, star forward, who had 13 points and 10 boards.
“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.”
Shooting 40 per cent from the field isn’t an overly impressive feat for such a good shooting team, but the Canadians were remarkably efficient from range as they went four-for-nine from the three-point line against the Japanese.
Kady Dandeneau had three of the four from behind the arc, adding 19 points in just over 21 minutes. Team Canada recorded 21 assists on 27 baskets made.
Five of those assists belonged to the 31-year-old British Columbia native as Dandeneau continued her excellent tournament, also adding nine rebounds to yet another complete stat line.
A quality performance by Young was no surprise, for the 25-year old.
“We knew that we’re playing Japan in their home country, on their home soil, so we just knew they were going to come out hard and so we knew that we had to come out even harder,” Young said.
The Canadians will look to keep up the dominating play against Germany, which has also won its first two games fairly comfortably. This should prove to be the toughest matchup thus far against a team currently ranked No. 4 in the world.
Each team will look to improve on its undefeated record at this game, set to take place Saturday at 4 a.m. EST.