Basketball team struggle in 74-53 loss to Canada

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Basketball team struggle in 74-53 loss to Canada

Park Ji-hyun passes around Canada's Bridget Carleton during a women's basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Saitama, Japan on Thursday. [AP/YONHAP]

Park Ji-hyun passes around Canada's Bridget Carleton during a women's basketball preliminary round game at the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Saitama, Japan on Thursday. [AP/YONHAP]

 
The Korean women's basketball team were handed their second loss at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by world No. 4 Canada at Saitama Super Arena, central Saitama, on Thursday morning.
 
For the first two quarters, it looked as if the match would be similar to the one played three days ago, in which world No. 19 Korea went up against world No. 3 Spain and only lost by a slim four-point margin (73-69), surprising viewers with their gritty performance and even pulling ahead for some stretches.
 
At halftime, Korea were trailing by five points (33-28) — a seemingly surmountable deficit. Those hopes, however, were crushed over the following two quarters, with Canada's lead widening to 10 points by the end of the third quarter, and to 21 points by the fourth. The final scoreline read 74-53.
 
Rebounds again proved to be a major factor, with Canada grabbing 54 rebounds compared to Korea's 32. Back on the 26th, Spain secured 48 rebounds to Korea's 30. The sheer difference in average height was understandably difficult to overcome.
 
Korea's chances of advancing to the quarterfinals now look rather grim, considering their next match is against world No. 8 Serbia, who beat Canada 72-68 on the 26th.
 
This year's Games was expected to be a tough outing for the Korean women's basketball team, who made it to the Olympics for the first time in 13 years. Eleven out of the twelve players on the team are playing for their first time on such a stage.
 
After the game against Spain, head coach Chun Joo-weon said she hoped their experience in Tokyo — regardless of how it panned out — would be "only the beginning" for the current group of players, most of whom are young enough to continue representing their country on the court until the next Olympics.
 
Korea will play their next match against Serbia on Sunday at 9 p.m.

BY JEON YOUNG-JAE [jeon.youngjae@joongang.co.kr]
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