In a clash dominated by strong defensive pressure from both teams, it was Canada who got the crucial break late in the third quarter, with Shona Thorburn hitting a buzzer-beating three-pointer falling out of court to give her team a 50-44 lead.
The Canadian would not look back, extending the lead to as many as 12 points in the final quarter before the Jayco Opals rallied to cut the final margin to 7 points.
Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce said he felt the team was flat after the three strong performances to start the tour and will be looking for more contributors on the offensive end against Brazil.
“I thought we were a little flat out there tonight and they made us pay,” Joyce said.
“Defensively I felt we were again locked in, but when you’ve got players making tough shots late in the shot clock it’s always going to be a challenge.
“We’ll be looking for more energy against Brazil, particularly more production from the guard positions against what will be a quick and high-tempo Brazilian outfit.”
Liz Cambage topped the Jayco Opals for points (16) and rebounds (8), but struggled from the free throw line – hitting 6-of-11. Rebecca Allen enjoyed her best offensive game of the European tour, posting 13 points and 3 rebounds, while Marianna Tolo continued her good form, with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
Coming off three impressive performances against the Czech Republic and Belarus, the Jayco Opals came face-to-face with a Canadian team matching their energy on both ends of the floor.
The teams traded buckets, with Canada holding a narrow 16-14 lead at the end of the first quarter. It looked set to become an arm wrestle for the remainder of the half as neither team could establish momentum until a late Canadian flurry put them up by five points at half time.
Needing to cut into their opponents lead, the Jayco Opals lifted their defensive pressure and looked in position to head into the final period trailing by just three points – only for Thorburn to hit a near-impossible three-pointer as time expired to swing the momentum.
Despite their best efforts, the Jayco Opals could not close the deficit, having to settle for their first defeat of the tour and an end to their 7-game winning streak.
Next up for Jayco Opals at the TBF Zafer Cup is a clash with Brazil TONIGHT at 11:45pm AEST – watch LIVE online at the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) website: http://bit.ly/1wgqhNa.
Jayco Australia Opals 55-62 Canada
Stats Leaders: Cambage 16pts 8rebs; Allen 13pts 3rebs; Tolo 9pts 5rebs; Jarry 6pts; Hodges 6pts 3rebs; Snell 5pts 3asts; Mitchell 4ats
Jayco Australian Opals Team – Tour of Europe
Rebecca Allen – Melbourne Boomers
Natalie Burton – Melbourne Boomers
Elizabeth Cambage – Dandenong Rangers
Laura Hodges – Adelaide Lightning
Natalie Hurst - Canberra Capitals/Canik BLD (Turkey)
Rachel Jarry – Melbourne Boomers
Tessa Lavey – Bendigo Spirit
Tess Madgen – Melbourne Boomers
Leilani Mitchell – Sydney Uni Flames
Gabrielle Richards – Bendigo Spirit
Belinda Snell – Bendigo Spirit
Marianna Tolo – Bourges (France)
Jayco Opals Tour of Europe Schedule
TBF Zafer Cup
Jayco Australian Opals v Brazil
Saturday 23 August @ Istanbul, Turkey 11:45pm (All times AEST)
Online: LIVE on TBF.org
Jayco Australian Opals v Turkey
Monday 25 August @ Istanbul, Turkey 2:00am
Online: LIVE on TBF.org
For all the latest news and updates on the Jayco Opals road to the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women be sure to visit the BA website at www.basketball.net.au.