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Monday September 18, 2000

Canada schools Senegal

Craig Daniels
Toronto Sun

The lesson found a home.

 After stumbling out of the gate with a blowout loss to Australia in the Olympic basketball tournament, Canada's women bounced back with a convincing 62-41 win over Senegal last night.

 Although Senegal probably is the weakest team on the women's side, Canada had to avert the danger of letting their 32-point loss to the Aussies start a death spiral similar to the one that killed their hopes at the Atlanta Games four years ago.

 "We said, 'This is stopping right now,' " veteran forward Kelly Boucher of Calgary said. "We had to get our butts in gear."

 The loss to Australia -- largely caused by an eight-minute stretch of miscues -- prompted some soul searching.

 "We mentally broke down (against the Aussies)," said forward Dianne Norman of Fredericton, who led Canada on the backboards against Senegal with eight rebounds. "We proved we can recover and go for the jugular.

 "We knew we needed this. If we didn't get it, it would have compounded everything."

 Cal Bouchard led Canada with 18 points.

 "Overall, I was really pleased with our defensive execution," said head coach Bev Smith, whose team held Senegal to just 32% shooting from the field.

 Canada plays France tomorrow (6:30 p.m. EDT). France beat Canada in a pre-Olympic tuneup last week.

 "We gave (France) 30 points in turnovers," Smith said. "If we limit those, maybe it's a game. Maybe not a pretty game, but a game."

 Smith said her entire team took the stirring Canadian men's victory over Australia to heart.

 "Their game really pumped us up," Smith said.

 "They played so great. It was pretty inspirational."

 Russia, meanwhile, upset medal hopeful Poland 84-46 with six players scoring in double figures for the winning side.

reprinted with permission

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