Canada beat the U.S. under-24 team 21-12 in the final of the 2023 FIBA Women's 3X3 Basketball Series in Montreal on Sunday to secure its third title of the season on Canadian soil.
Michelle Plouffe powered Canada in the final, draining 5-of-7 two-point field goals to pace Canada with 11 points.
Canada went a combined 15-0 on home soil across July's event in Edmonton, the Quebec City tournament in August, and this weekend's outdoor event at the foot of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Those wins helped the team to a third place ranking in the overall standings heading into the final event.
"We're just gonna go home, get some rest, and prep to go win a final," said Michelle Plouffe after the game, already looking ahead to the Ulaanbaatar Final in Mongolia from Sept. 16-17. "That's the goal."
Michelle and her twin sister Katherine Plouffe, of Edmonton, and Paige Crozon, of Humboldt, Sask., were on all three championship teams in Canada, while Kacie Bosch of Lethbridge, Alta., took part in both the Edmonton and Montreal tournaments, with Jamie Scott stepping in in Quebec City.
Sunday's final was a rematch of both Canada's 15-10 win over the U.S. U24 team on Saturday during round-robin play, as well as a dramatic 21-19 Canadian victory in the Quebec City final on Aug. 19.
After both teams put together different rosters in last weekend's series stop in Debrecen, Hungary, en route to a pair of quarterfinal losses, the star power was on full display for both teams again on Sunday.
The American team returned the pair of two-time First Team All-ACC guard Hailey Van Lith — who transferred from Louisville to reigning national champion LSU this summer — and Cameron Brink, who won a national championship with Stanford in 2021, with the two combining for 10 of 12 points in Sunday's loss.
The Americans were called for five fouls during a chippy first three minutes, where Canada got off to a 7-3 lead. That was highlighted by two buckets from beyond the arc for Michelle Plouffe.
The U.S. clawed its way back – Brink tied the game at 8 with a two-pointer with six minutes left in regulation time – and briefly took a 10-9 lead with another long-distance shot.
Not to be outdone, Michelle Plouffe snatched the lead back for Canada, tacking on another two-pointer just seconds later She the crowd to its feet with her fourth basket from beyond the arc with just under four minutes, handing Canada a 14-11 advantage.
Poor foul-shooting (5-of-11) delayed Canada's victory, but they reached the target score of 21 with a 7-0 run.
No place like home
Canada earned a berth into the semifinals by going 3-0 in group play on Saturday with wins against New Zealand, Poland, and the U.S. U24 team.
The U.S. topped New Zealand in a 12-9 win earlier on Sunday to advance to the semis against Canada.
The semifinal was another low-scoring affair with Canada taking the victory 13-9.
Michelle Plouffe gathered a staggering 13 rebounds – 11 on the defensive end – while also pacing Canada in scoring with five points.
With five tournament wins this season – which includes victories in Poitiers, France, in June and Prague, Czech Republic, in August – Canada now has more wins than any other squad, despite playing in five fewer events than the two teams ahead of them in the standings (China and the Neftchi team out of Azerbaijan).