Natalie Achonwa contributed eight points and five rebounds Sunday while helping Canada capture a 73-72 win over Nigeria to claim a seventh-place finish in the 2018 FIBA World Cup. Achonwa’s layup with 5:16 left in the fourth period gave Canada the lead it never relinquished while rebounding from a semifinal loss to China a day earlier.
Following Sunday’s win, Achonwa was quoted, “It hurts right now because we had those expectations. We were good enough to meet those expectations, but we did fall short,” referring to Canada’s No. 5 world ranking and hopes of a top-four finish.
The Canadians’ high hopes were maintained after a 3-0 record through last week’s opening rounds, but dashed following a quarterfinal defeat to third-ranked Spain, 68-53, and a second defeat at the hands of China.
Achonwa finished as the club’s second-leading scorer and rebounder with averages of 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game during the six-game tournament. She shot 47 percent from the floor. In Group A wins over Greece, Korea and France, Achonwa posted averages of 7.3 points and 5.7 boards per contest, including a 9-point, 10-rebound effort against France. Her best game of the tournament was a 13-point, 7-rebound performance in the loss to China.