Canada’s Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (7) grabs a rebound over Serbia’s Tina Krajisnik (33) during a women’s basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 26, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. The former Kalamalka Lakers star and Team Canada finished Group A play at 1-2 after a 76-66 loss to Spain Sunday, Aug. 1, and now must wait to see if they qualify for the playoffs. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Canada’s Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (7) grabs a rebound over Serbia’s Tina Krajisnik (33) during a women’s basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 26, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. The former Kalamalka Lakers star and Team Canada finished Group A play at 1-2 after a 76-66 loss to Spain Sunday, Aug. 1, and now must wait to see if they qualify for the playoffs. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Former Kalamalka basketball star waits to see if berth in Tokyo Olympics medal round is a go

Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had four points in 76-66 Canada loss to Spain Sunday, Aug. 1; Canada at 1-2 waits for other results

It’s wait and see for Canada’s women’s basketball team at the Tokyo Olympics.

Canada dropped a tough 76-66 decision to world No. 3 Spain on Sunday morning. With the loss, Canada finishes the Group Phase 1-2, and will now wait to see if they advance to the eight-team quarterfinals (out of 12).

The teams placed first and second in each group and the two best third-placed teams in the Group Phase qualify for the Final Phase. As a result, there are a variety of scenarios for the remaining games that could determine whether Canada advances.

Former Kalamalka Lakers standout Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe started her third consecutive game for Canada. She finished with four points, six rebounds (four defensive) and one assist on 17 minutes and 44 seconds of floor time.

“Certainly not the outcome we were looking for and now we’ll have to sit back and wait,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis said. “We wanted to take matters into our own hands. We won two of four quarters [today] and unfortunately we just dug ourselves into too big of a hole to get out of.”

Canada was led by a 14-point effort from Kia Nurse, 11 points from Natalie Achonwa and 10 points from Laeticia Amihere in the loss. Astou Ndour led the way for Spain with a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double, while point guard Cristina Ouvina added 15 points and seven assists.

Canada knew Sunday’s game would be tough. Spain was the silver medallists at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Though Canada had stretches of stifling defence that forced Spain into turnovers and allowed them to push the pace offensively, a slow start to the game was ultimately too much to overcome after it was coupled with a rough start to the third quarter.

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roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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