Canada’s women’s wheelchair basketball team has its sights set on reaching the Paralympic podium for the first time since 2004, but first it will need to defeat the defending gold-medal champions.
The national team has had an impressive run through the preliminary rounds of the 2020 Paralympics, finishing as the second seed in Group A with a record of 3-1 and cementing a spot in the quarter finals.
That matchup will see Canada taking on the United States, which won gold at Rio in 2016. The Americans finished as the third seed in Group B with a record of 2-2, surrendering losses to the Netherlands and China.
Despite not having played each other in the preliminary rounds of these Paralympics, the U.S. will be looking to exact revenge on Canada following the 2019 Parapan American Games, which saw the red and white defeat the red, white, and blue 67-64 in the gold-medal match.
Team Canada’s Arinn Young is looking forward to picking up the rivalry where it left off.
“I’m really looking forward to playing the States. They always bring their best competition and so do we, so you know, we have a nice little rivalry with that,” she said. “But the States are 12 strong so we’ll figure out how we’re going to play against them.”
The budding star has had an impressive Paralympic debut thus far, averaging 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists through her first four games. Her 13 points and six assists earn her a spot among the top 10 statistical leaders through the tournament.
However, it will be the veteran leadership and scoring presence of Canada’s Kady Dandeneau that will be leaned on most going into Monday’s quarter-final game.
In the 2019 Parapan American gold medal match, Dandeneau posted a 25-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple double performance. The team’s star will surely be called on once again to generate offence for the Canadians on Monday night.
Throughout the Paralympic tournament Dandeneau has been electric for the Red and White, averaging 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Heading into the quarterfinal, she is among one of the tournament’s most efficient point getters, ranking third in scoring.
Entering the Paralympic tournament the Americans lost some bench depth from the 2019 Lima team, but Canadian head coach Marc Antoine Ducharme knows his club can’t come into the game overconfident.
“We played them in the final in Lima. They lost three players but all of the players on their starting five were there in the past five years so we know them well. We already know what our game plan will be for sure.”
Lindsey Zurbrugg and Courtney Ryan have been the top players for Team USA through their first four games. Zurburgg has averaged 13 points per game, while Ryan leads the tournament in assists, averaging eight per game.
As a team, the Americans have proven to be the most efficient shooting teams through the preliminary round. They’ve scored 108 of their 231 shot attempts, earning them a tournament-leading 47-per-cent shooting percentage.
The game runs at 11:30 p.m. ET on Monday night.