Canada close out in style at FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Montreal Stop 2023
4 Sep 2023
MONTREAL (Canada) - A repeat of the Quebec Stop, Canada defended home soil as they beat USA U24 21 - 12 to win the FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Montreal Stop 2023 on September 2 - 3.
Here’s the breakdown of the penultimate stop of the season.
The Winners: Canada
The Reigning champs wanted to make a statement at home in the final stop before Ulaanbaatar, and that they did. Flaunting the core four that have defined the team’s success in Michelle and Katherine Plouffe, Paige Crozon and Kacie Bosch, Canada were out to win their fifth Stop.
They started off strong, making easy work of New Zealand and Poland. The Plouffe sisters combined for 14 points in the opener with Crozon adding 7. It was entirely the Crozon show against Poland as she put up 12 points to lead her side to victory.
They then faced USA U24, a team they have faced numerous times over recent stops. The Hailey Van Lith and Cameron Brink-led side had been rolling heading into the marquee clash. While touted to be a matchup between youth and experience, it turned out to be a paint battle of physicality. Brink and Michelle Plouffe went at it, going back and forth as Canada would try and break down the strong rim deterrence from their opposition. Plouffe would battle on, picking up 10 rebounds while her sister would score 7 to pick up a 10 - 15 victory against the team they would go on to face in the final.
Michelle Plouffe would have yet another monstrous rebounding game against team USA in the Semi-Finals, this time racking up 13 of them which proved to be pivotal in the team picking up a 13 - 9 victory to topple their North American rivals. They were headed to the final yet again with the crowd vehemently in their favor.
The 2023 World Cup Gold Medal winning duo of Cameron Brink and Hailey Van Lith were back in action, hoping to exact revenge for the loss they faced in Quebec at the hands of Canada. They started off with a closely contested battle against Poland with Brink putting on a 9-point, 8-rebound display. Brink went off for 9 again as they brushed past New Zealand. Van Lith put up 6 points each in both the opening games.
They faced off against Canada next, facing the same dilemma as always. The physicality challenge that Canada poses is an immediate disadvantage. Though Van Lith and Madison Scott are capable scorers off contact, it proved to be a difficult outing. Brink picked up 7 rebounds in her battle in the paint against Michelle Plouffe but it wasn’t enough as they would have to claw another way through to book a rematch.
Facing Romania in the Play-in, it was Brink and Scott that shone. They locked down on defense, preventing the speedy Romanian side to truly get going. Podar scored 5 in a losing effort as Brink and Scott both combined for 7 points and 6 rebounds.
They had a tougher challenge in the Semi-Finals as they took on Germany. While Greinacher tried to will her side forward, the gritty matchup grinded proceedings down. Brink dominated on defense while Van Lith went to work. She put up 6 points while Brink would go for a 4-point, 7-rebound display. It would be yet another loss for Germany as USA U24 would book their place in the final and book a shot at revenge.
Two teams that have become familiar with each other over recent stops, Canada were set on setting themselves apart as the favorites heading into Ulaanbaatar while USA U24 looked to exact revenge for the loss in Quebec.
An even game to begin with, Brink and Van Lith took to the scoring sheet first as did the Plouffe sisters. Michelle Plouffe would catch fire from deep early, draining two to hand her side an early four-point lead. Scott rallied back with a quick bucket, matching the hustle that’s necessary to counter the gumption of Canada.
Brink would light up from behind the arc as well, her two-pointer tied the game up before she drained another one to give her side the lead. It would be short-lived though as Michelle Plouffe would match her from range. Unfortunately for USA U24, fouls would soon start making their indelible impact on the game, putting Canada on the charity stripe multiple times. The Plouffe sisters would connect flawlessly, setting each other up with looks inside and outside. The game would slowly start slipping away from the Americans, a two from Michelle Plouffe putting Canada a step away from glory. Michelle would find her sister who would put up a shot that would be rejected by Scott only for her to follow up with the killer bucket.
It would be a fifth stop win for the Canadians, the highest number this season as they run in full steam ahead towards the final in Ulaanbaatar.
MVP - Michelle Plouffe
The World’s Number One gets it done again. Finishing the event with the highest Player Value with 55.2, second in scoring with 31, first in rebounds with a whopping 40 along with dishing the most leg assists and highlights, it is safe to say Michelle Plouffe dominated the event.
2. USA U24
6. New Zealand
The FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series culminates in Mongolia as the Ulaanbaatar final takes place on September 16 - 17.