SYDNEY, Australia — Nirra Fields scored 17 points on Friday as Canada’s women’s basketball team remains undefeated at the FIBA World Cup after a 59-45 victory over France.
Shay Colley added 11 points, while Kayla Alexander had nine points and 14 rebounds for the Canadians (2-0), who never trailed and led by as many as 20 points.
Gabby Williams scored 13 points to top France.
No. 4 Canada opened up the World Cup with a 67-60 win over Serbia, while sixth-ranked France upset host and third-ranked Australia 67-59.
Canada takes on Japan (1-1), the reigning Olympic silver medallists, on Sunday. Japan crushed Mali 89-56 in their opener before dropping a 69-64 decision to Serbia.
Friday’s win all but clinches a spot in the knockout round for the Canadians, since top four teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. A high finish in the group will be key to avoid the Americans.
Both teams struggled to score in an ugly first half on Friday. The Canadians raced out to an early six-point lead and led 15-9 to start the second quarter.
The Canadians found their offensive groove late in the half, finishing with a 9-0 run in the final 1:45 punctuated by a three-pointer from Bridget Carleton. Fields’ driving layup with 15 seconds left sent Canada into the halftime break with a 29-17 lead.
The Canadians opened the second half with an 8-0 run, capped with a three-pointer from Colley that saw Canada take a 20-point lead. France sliced the difference to 13 points late in the third quarter, but Fields’ driving layup put Canada up 45-30 with one quarter to play.
The French battled back to within 11 points late in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they would come.
Following Japan, the Canadians face Australia on Monday and Mali on Tuesday to wrap up the preliminary round.