Canada beats France at women's basketball world championship

On Sunday the Canadian team will play China for fifth place, which would be its highest finish since 1986

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Miranda Ayim scored 12 points to lead Canada to a 55-40 victory over France in a classification game Saturday at the FIBA women’s world basketball championship.

Canada will close out the tournament Sunday in the fifth-place game against China.

Ayim, of London, Ont., also had five rebounds and a block while Shona Thorburn of Hamilton, Ont., added nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Canada held France to just eight points in each of the first two quarters and led 37-16 at the half.

“We really had them on their heels and then we were knocking down shots,” Canadian head coach Lisa Thomaidis said on a conference call. “When we’re aggressive defensively, we talk a lot about how that transfers over to our play at the offensive end and that was I think pretty evident in the first half.”

In semifinal play, Alba Torrens scored 12 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter to help Spain beat Turkey 66-56 to reach the gold-medal game for the first time. Spain won bronze four years ago.

The United States reached the final with an 82-70 victory over Australia in the late semifinal. The medal games will be played Sunday.

Shao Ting scored 24 points to lead China to an 85-69 win over Serbia. The Chinese star, who is averaging 12.3 points a game, was 10 of 16 from the field in the victory.

Serbia will play France for seventh place.

Canada finished 12th at the last world championship in 2010. A fifth-place result would be the team’s best result at this tournament since finishing third in 1986.