Aubry Helps Canada Advance to Olympic Quarters
Former Husker Chelsea Aubry scored four points and grabbed one rebound to help Canada's women's basketball team to a 79-73 Olympic victory over Brazil on Friday at the London Basketball Arena.
With the victory over the Brazilians, Canada improved to 2-2 in Group B pool play and secured a spot in the Olympic quarterfinals for the first time in 28 years. The last time Canada advanced to the quarterfinals was at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
It marks just the third time in history that Canada has won two games at the same Olympics and gives the Canadians seven all-time victories in the Summer Games.
The victory was also a rare one for Canada against Brazil in international play, as no member of the current Canadian team had ever defeated a Brazilian women's basketball team at any level of international competition.
According to Aubry, a native of Kitchener, Ontario, and a four-year letterwinner at Nebraska from 2003 to 2007, the win marked a momentous occasion for Canada.
"I think a lot of teams saw us as the pushover team," Aubry told Toronto's Globe and Mail. "Now people know we have a basketball team. This is how I started in basketball. I saw them on TV and I wanted to play that sport."
Canada will advance out of Group B with unbeaten France, Russia (3-1) and Australia (3-1), while the hosts from Great Britain and Brazil (0-4) have both been eliminated from medal contention with one game against each other remaining in pool play. France and Great Britain play each other later today, before France concludes pool action against Russia on Sunday.
A starter for the Canadians, Aubry hit both of her two-point field goal attempts in the game, including a big basket to stop a 10-0 run by Brazil late in the third quarter.
Aubry's shot with 57 seconds left in the third quarter put Canada up 52-49, after the Brazilians had trimmed what was a 14-point Canada lead early in the third down to just one at 50-49. She scored her first bucket early in the game to give Canada an 8-4 lead.
Brazil took its only lead of the game early in the fourth quarter at 56-55 with 9:45 left, but Aubry and the Canadians responded by rebuilding their lead to eight points at 79-71 before holding on for the six-point win.
Kim Smith and Courtney Pilypaitis led a balanced Canadian attack with 14 points, while Tamara Tatham added 13 points. Natalie Achonwa (11) and Shona Thorburn (10) gave Canada five players in double figures. Erika de Souza led Brazil with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Clarissa Santos was the only other Brazilian in double figures as she added a double-double of her own with 21 points and 10 boards.
Canada will conclude pool play on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. (central) when it faces Australia. The Australians defeated Russia 70-66 earlier Friday at the London Basketball Arena. Australia improved to 3-1 in Group B pool action, with its only loss coming to unbeaten France. The Australians, who feature Aubry's professional club teammate Kristi Harrower at point guard and the Seattle Storm's Lauren Jackson at forward, have won silver medals at the past three Olympics.
A win by Canada against Australia would likely prevent the Canadians from facing Team USA in the quarterfinals.