Canada won its third straight title of the 2023 3×3 basketball Women’s Series on Saturday with a 21-19 victory over the American under-24 squad in the final in Quebec City.
With the Americans pressing to tie the game late, Michelle Plouffe delivered the dagger with a two-point shot to reach the target score of 21.
MICHELLE PLOUFFE COMING UP CLUTCH 🇨🇦<br><br>her game-winner gets it done for the squad in Quebec City <a href=”https://t.co/S5jEbBIv6h”>pic.twitter.com/S5jEbBIv6h</a>
Michelle and twin sister Katherine Plouffe of Edmonton combined with Paige Crozon of Humboldt, Sask., and Jamie Scott — born in Pasco, Wash., — to collect Canada’s 15th straight win of the 3×3 basketball Women’s Series, which featured two other perfect tournaments at the Edmonton stop on Jul. 30 and in Prague on Aug. 5.
Crozon — who missed Canada’s last win in Prague — returned to the Canadian lineup after Kacie Bosch of Lethbridge, Alta., participated in Canada’s three other series victories in Edmonton, Prague and Poitiers, France on Jun. 28.
The win moved Canada into fourth place in the standings, only behind China, France and the Neftchi team out of Azerbaijan.
WATCH l Back-to-back gold medals for Canada’s 3×3 women’s basketball team:
The American under-24 team featured a star-studded roster in Quebec, led by two-time First Team All-ACC guard Hailey Van Lith — who transferred from Louisville to reigning national champion LSU this summer — and the towering Cameron Brink, who won a national championship with Stanford in 2021.
The American team lost by just two points to Canada in pool play on Friday in a 16-14 nail-biter, setting the stage for an epic rematch on Saturday night.
The American team got off to a great start when Van Lith drove to the basket to draw an and-one basket, which was quickly followed up by a deep two-pointer by Sydney Leah Taylor to take a 6-3 lead.
Canada began to pull ahead on a 5-0 run highlighted by Crozon’s two made foul shots after the Americans committed their seventh foul of the game.
Not to be denied, Brink delivered multiple big plays down the stretch to keep the U.S. within one with a minute and a half remaining, and Van Lith’s drive tied it up at 19.
With both teams just two points away from the target score of 21, Michelle Plouffe did not squander her opportunity, draining an off-balance, contested two over Taylor to reach a game-high nine points and secure the victory with one minute left on the clock.
Canada dominates on way to final
Canada began its title defence on Saturday with a 20-14 victory over Italy, a team with a 3-1 record heading into the game with its lone loss being by a one-point margin to a then-undefeated German team.
With the Italians closing the gap to just a two-point margin at 6-4 early on, Michelle Plouffe took the semifinal over, draining a two-pointer, setting up her sister Katherine with an easy lay-in, laying in another basket herself, then capping off a 7-0 Canada run with an and-one basket from beyond the arc after a remarkable between-the-legs keep-in.
must-see magic from <a href=”https://twitter.com/Plouffey_15?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Plouffey_15</a> 🤯 <a href=”https://t.co/yxz24iV2F0″>https://t.co/yxz24iV2F0</a> <a href=”https://t.co/1XSSZoO5ij”>pic.twitter.com/1XSSZoO5ij</a>
While Italy would draw within four at 16-12, Michelle Plouffe nailed yet another and-one two-pointer – which accounted for three of her game-high 12 points – to erase all doubt that Canada would be headed back to its third consecutive final.
WATCH | Canada downs Italy in semis:
The Canadian team finished atop Pool A with a 3-0 record on Friday, which included decisive 21-7 and 22-8 wins over New Zealand and Romania respectively.
The 2023 3×3 basketball Women’s Series runs from May to September, notably stopping in Montreal from Sept. 2-3, and finishing with the Ulaanbaatar Final in Mongolia from Sept. 16-17.
In the men’s event – also in Quebec – Canada went 0-2 in pool play and did not qualify for the knockout round, which takes place on Sunday.
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