Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Canada are the last nation to qualify for the Olympic Games

Courtnay Pilypaitis ©  womensbasketball-in-france.com Canada won the final match of the 2012 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the very last place in the 2012 Olympics Games.

They beat Japan (71-63) on the back of a match winning performance by Courtnay Pilypaitis (in picture), who went 5-of-9 from beyond the arc to score 21 points. She also dished out 6 assists while having the main duties of marking Yuko Oga.

Canada have not been to the Olympic Games since 2000 and will be making their fifth Olympic appearance in London.

This has been a remarkable turn-around for Canadian Basketball because they had their funding cut and the NEDA programme stopped which was to help in the development of current roster members Natalie Achonwa and Michelle Plouffe.

For Japan it was the second time that they missed the chance of participating in the Olympic Games.

Match report: Canada's 11-0 opening secured the victory

Canada got off to a flying start with the first 11 points of the game which led to a Japanese time-out with 6:38 left to play in the first quarter.

Shortly after it was Yuko Oga who broke the Japanese duck but her team was still on the back foot and continued to struggle.

Canada dominated the rebounds and won the first quarter (21-11).

Japan woke up in the second quarter and kept Canada scoreless for the first three minutes while scoring just 4 points.

Canada needed a time-out to sort things out and then went on a three-point shooting spray. With back to back three-balls by Courtnay Pilypaitis and a trey by Teresa Gabriele they restored the 10-point advantage (30-20) and put themselves into the driving seat at the midway point of the second quarter.

Japan switched to zone and slowed down Canada's offensive action for a couple of minutes while chipping away at the deficit (27-32).

Yet Canada rode the storm and on the back of another clutch shot by Pilypaitis from beyond the arc they were able to go into the locker room leading (37-31).

Canada hit 6-of-9 from behind the arc during the first 20 minutes as well as picking up 16 rebounds. Pilypaitis led the scoring with 11 points.

Japan were just 2-of-4 from behind the arc and only won 9 rebounds. However they were led by Yuka Mamiya and Oga with 8 points each.

Japan started the third quarter with a 2-3 zone. But Canada were patient and Pilypaitis hit her 4th three-pointer of the game.

With Krista Phillips taking control of the offensive boards Canada pushed back to their 10-point advantage (43-33) with 7:30 to play in the quarter.

Canada slowed the game down and managed to hold on to their lead thanks to a domination of the rebounds (32:17).

Japan kept on working hard and with 2 points by Mamiya on the buzzer they went into the final quarter trailing by just 10 points (42-52).

Maki Takada hit back to back three-pointers for Japan to start the final quarter for her side to be suddenly back into the game.

Japan scored 2 more points to complete a 10-0 run. Yet Canada were saved once again by another three-point shot by Pilypaitis.

Canada showed no urgency to wrap up the game. They simply defended until Lizanne Murphy put them back in the driving seat with a nice switch drive and a finger roll (59-51) with four minutes left to play.

Mamiya fouled out at the wrong time for Japan with just over three minutes to play and Japan trailing (53-59). Without her on the court Japan had nobody who could score inside the paint.

Canada had the chance of blowing Japan away for good but missed their shots and were also generous in missing free throws.

Japan's main players who played for most of the game were unable to take advantage as they started to tire.

Big blocks by Miranda Joy Ayim and Murphy in the closing minutes ended all hopes for Japan of getting back into the game.

Canada held on to win (71-63) and Japan left the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for the second time with nothing but tears.

Japan: Kumiko Oba DNP, Maki Takada 14, Yuka Mamiya 14, Ryoko Yano 8, Rika Tanaka 10, Emi Kudeken DNP, Arisa Fujiwara 0, Chie Kibayashi DNP, Asami Yoshida 4 (13 assists), Yuko Oga 11, Megumi Shinohara DNP, Kumiko Yamada DNP

Canada: Krista Phillips 9, Teresa Gabriele 11 (5 assists), Shona Thorburn 6, Courtnay Pilypaitis 21 (6 assists), Kimberley Smith 4, Miranda Joy Ayim 2, Alisha Tatham 0, Natalie Achonwa DNP, Lizanne Murphy 7 (5 blocks), Tamara Tatham 3, Chelsea Aubry 4, Michelle Plouffe DNP

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Date created: 01 July 2012

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