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Clarke leads Canada to first medal at FIBA U19

By Andrea Elliott

UDINE, Italy - Ryerson women's basketball head coach Carly Clarke led the Canadian U19 Junior Women's National Team to its first ever medal at the World Cup, claiming the bronze medal with a victory over Japan on Sunday.

The podium finish comes at the heels of the Canadian men's junior team - coached by Rams men's basketball coach Roy Rana - winning Canada's first gold medal in an international FIBA-regulated event earlier this month.

Prior to Sunday's podium finish Canada's best result at the women's World Cup was a fourth place finish in 2009.

"Incredibly proud of this team and this accomplishment," said Clarke following the win. "It was truly a complete team effort to bring home the bronze medal. I'm extremely proud of this accomplishment for these athletes. They have worked so hard, put so much time and effort into accomplishing it and they one hundred percent earned it."

Canada won their pool going 3-0 in round robin play including wins over Korea, the European champion French team, as well as Latvia. The Canadians eased past Mexico in the round of 16 to set up a quarter-final with China. Canada put together a strong comeback to win that game 68-65 to send them to the semifinal for just the second time.

Canada ran into a strong Russian team - the eventual champions - in the semifinal to set up a date with Japan for the bronze medal. Coming into the game the Japanese offence ranked third in points scored in the tournament but the Canadian defence held Japan to their lowest point total of the tournament to take a 67-60 victory.

Clarke will return from her international success and look to lead the Rams to another OUA championship this season.

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