BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Ruth Hamblin scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Canada opened the FIBA women's AmeriCup with an 81-35 victory over Cuba on Sunday.
Nirra Fields had a game-high 18 points and added five rebounds and three assists for the Canadians, who are the tournament's defending champions. The event used to be called the FIBA Americas, which Canada won in 2015 in Edmonton to qualify for last summer's Rio Olympics.
"Great to get the first game under our belt against a traditionally tough opponent in Cuba," said head coach Lisa Thomaidis. "There were a lot of question marks coming into the tournament in terms of our style of play and how we would integrate some new players. I think we passed our first test."
The top three teams from the FIBA women's AmeriCup will qualify for the 2018 FIBA women's basketball World Cup in Spain.
Canada converted just 3-of-21 shots from beyond the arc but dominated in the paint by scoring 58 points.
Anisleidy Galindo led Cuba with 12 points.
"We worked on pushing the pace and tempo and thought we did a solid job of that in the first quarter and built on that throughout the game," said Thomaidis. "This by no means is Cuba's best effort and we imagine we will see them again later in the tournament, but certainly happy with the win."
The Canadians continue group play on Monday with a matchup against Puerto Rico.
Canada is currently ranked No. 2 in the Americas and sixth in the world by FIBA.
The Canadian Press