There is time to regroup and refocus, to put a bad shooting night out of mind and concentrate on the task at hand for the Canadian women's basketball team with the path to the London Olympics far clearer today.
Tamara and Alisha Tatham.
Tamara (left) and Alisha Tatham are hoping to lead Canada's women's basketball team into the Olympics.
Suffering through a dismal night offensively - shooting just 23 per cent from the field - Canada dropped a 56-47 decision to France on Tuesday to end its preliminary-round play at the final Olympic qualifier in Ankara, Turkey. Barring an upset of impossible proportions - Mali would have to beat France by about 65 points on Wednesday - Canada will face the winner of Wednesday's game between Korea and Croatia on Friday with a berth in the Olympics on the line.
"It will be good to kind of sit there and watch them play," said Canada's Alisha Tatham of Brampton. "But no matter who we get, we're going to have to play well."
Canada didn't play particularly well against France, missing its first seven shots and finishing 14-for-61 from the field. While they did play well defensively and on the boards, the shoddy offence was too much for the Canadians to overcome.
"We had some good looks inside but I don't know how many shots they blocked (six)," said Canadian coach Allison McNeill. "Their length might have bothered us."
And whenever Canada got within striking distance of France, a timely miss cut off any serious run.
"We couldn't get over the hump," said McNeill. "Every time we needed a big shot, we just couldn't get it to go down."
Shona Thorburn and Tamara Tatham led Canada with seven points each; the Canadians were just 1-for-8 from three-point range.
The schedule for the 12-team tournament would seem to favour the Canadians, who are now off until Friday's quarter-final. While not an old team by any stretch, Canada does have a couple of veterans who will benefit from some rest and it does give them a chance to scout Croatia and Korea when they meet Wednesday.
"I think we scout really well and we'll be prepared," said McNeill. "And those two days off are going to be good for us."
Canada beat Croatia, which was without its starting point guard, in an exhibition game in France about two weeks ago so there is a level of familiarity; the Koreans are less of a known entity.
"All we have to do is go out and do what we do and we'll be fine," said Alisha Tatham.
-- Torstar News Services