In the opening women’s quarter final, the Netherlands – runners-up in Pool B – played Canada – the third placed team of Pool A.

Both teams came out firing to start the game in a back-and-forth opening quarter that featured multiple lead changes. Canada started strong to go ahead 10-5 early but the Netherlands clawed back and managed to hold on for a one-point lead, 19-18, after the opening quarter. The Netherlands began to dominate the boards in the second frame, making the most of second chance opportunities down low to widen the gap and take a 42-29 lead into halftime.

Canada began to chip away at the deficit in the dying minutes of the third quarter but Netherlands responded late in the frame to keep Canada at bay, including a late two-pointer that beat the buzzer, to take a 60-49 lead going into the fourth quarter. Canada battled until the very end but the Netherlands kept the pedal down in the final frame en route to a 78-60 win.

Topscorer for The Netherlands Mariska Beijer said, “We were struggling a little bit in the first quarter, but we really stepped it up and we played our own game, both on defence and offence. I’m really happy with the result! Tomorrow we have a rest day, so we’ll recover and then get back on it for the semi final.”

Canada’s Head Coach, Bill Johnson said,  “There was a spell of about three minutes, I guess from about seven minutes to the end of the second quarter where we let things get away from us a little bit in terms of their transition: they started to get out, they brought in #9 – we were anticipating that, they have some sets to get her out in the open court and we didn’t account for it early enough and the gap was about 7 points by this point and we never really got it back. When teams are this good, all it takes is three minutes and it’s gone.

“Our goal coming into the Games was to have a best possible performance and I’m really proud of the effort these girls have put in, so I don’t look at it as an absolute failure – we didn’t meet our ultimate goal, but the effort they put in and the things we’ve achieved as a group and some of the things that we’ve overcome, I think it’s a great building place for our programme going into the future.

“The growth in the sport – especially in the women’s side of the sport – has been incredible the past few years and at this event there are seven or eight teams that could have won the gold medal. It means that we have to keep working to keep up with rest of the world and that’s what sport’s all about.”

The Netherlands Head Coach Gertjan van der Linden said, “It went quite well – it was a tough game for us because yesterday we played against China and we didn’t play how we wanted to play, but today we played against a World Champion and this put a lot of pressure on the team, but they did a good job: they worked hard together as a team and in the first half we were able to play a lot of our players, so in the tournament everyone’s had good minutes which is what you need at this point. I’m very proud of the team and how they’ve reacted. Everyone’s really happy.

“We know how we play, how Germany play and every game now is a final – so we’ll play the semi final like a final and the focus must be there.”

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