TOKYO — A day of nervous scoreboard watching ended in heartbreak for Canada's women's basketball team.
The squad didn't get the help it needed on the final day of group play to advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympic basketball tournament.
The dagger came when Australia defeated Puerto Rico 96-69 in Monday's final game, dropping Canada to ninth in the combined rankings. Australia's 27-point margin of victory eclipsed the 24 it needed to move on and eliminate Canada.
Canada and Australia finished with 1-2 records, but the Aussies' margin of victory over Puerto Rico gave them a better point differential than Canada.
The top two teams in the three pools, plus the two highest-ranked third -place teams, advanced to the quarterfinals.
The Canadians, ranked fourth entering the tournament, had put themselves in a precarious position early by losing their first game 72-68 to Serbia. Canada suffered from poor shooting to come up short in what was a winnable game.
After righting the ship with a 74-53 win over South Korea, Canada came out flat on Sunday with a 76-66 loss to Spain in its final group stage game.
"Heartbroken for our team," Canadian head coach Lisa Thomadis said after the loss to Spain. "We won two of the four quarters, but unfortunately we dug ourselves into too much of a hole.
Canada finished seventh at the 2016 Rio Games and has never medalled at the Olympics.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2021.
The Canadian Press