Canadian women's basketball team secures berth to 2012 London Summer Games

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Canadian women's basketball team secures berth to 2012 London Summer Games

Courtnay Pilypaitis and Canada's women's basketball team punched their tickets to the London Olympics on Sunday.

Pilypaitis had 21 points and six assists as Canada secured a berth to the 2012 Summer Games with a 71-63 win over Japan on Sunday at the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament. With the victory, the Canadians secured the last remaining berth to the London Games and will make a return to Olympic competition for the first time since 2000.

"I think this is real big," Pilypaitis said. "All the young female basketball players now are going to be able to watch us compete at the Olympics and they too can have that dream.

"Not seeing someone in the Olympics, that might go by the wayside. But now they have us to look up to as role models and that younger generation can just feed off that and hopefully continue and make it in the next four years and make more strides."

The Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey and France all locked up Olympic berths earlier in the tournament.

The Canadians wasted little time taking control of the must-win game versus Japan, leading from the start thanks to opening with an 11-0 run. Canada led 37-31 at the half and took a 52-35 advantage in the third before Japan rallied with a 14-2 run to make it a closer game in the fourth.

However, the Canadians weathered the storm and never relinquished the lead en route to securing the eight-point victory.

"We're not the greatest-shooting team but we're tough and we grind it out," said Canadian team coach Allison McNeill. "We're going to play these kind of games . . . we grind it out and we're tough physically and pretty tough mentally and some nights we shoot better than others."

McNeill said she was able to keep a lid on her emotions once the game ended but added it was only fitting her team clinched an Olympic berth on Canada Day.

"Unbelievable," she said. "How cool is that?"
Canadian women's basketball team secures berth to 2012 London Summer Games
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