Hosts Canada successfully completed an undefeated 2015 edition of the continental championship by defeating previous champions Cuba 82-66 in the FIBA Americas Women’s final.
The Cubans were tough and were able to compete with the hosts, but in the end the depth of Canada, led by Kia Nurse, Tamara Tatham and Miah-Marie Langlois was more than enough to win the team their second gold medal in the history of the FIBA Americas Women’s championship since its inception in 1995.
The experience of Suzy Batkovic and Laura Hodges has guided Australia past an inspired New Zealand, 80-63, in Tauranga on Monday.
The win, which followed a 61-41 success in the first leg in Melbourne sealed the FIBA Oceania Women’s championship for the Opals and secured a place in their sixth consecutive Olympics next year in Rio.
Hodges (22 points at 64 per cent, 5 rebounds) and Batkovic (17 points, 5 rebounds) stood resolutely between the Opals and a monumental upset as the Tall Ferns produced one of their best ever performances, the experienced pair making a string of big plays.
“Suzy and I have played together for a very long time and I think we work well together,” Hodges said.
“It’s nice to be play with someone like that, we know each other’s roles and we can just run with it, especially in those crunch moments.”
Micaela Cocks was the chief mischief maker, delivering a superb 21 points on 50 per cent shooting to go with 7 boards, while Penina Davidson (8 points, 12 rebounds) was a standout inside against her bigger rivals.
FIBA contributed to this report.