PUERTO MONTT (2011 FIBA U19 World Championship Women) - Spain ended Canada's unbeaten run at the 2011 FIBA World Championship for Women, beating them 69-55 in Friday's first Quarter-Final in Puerto Montt, Chile.
The Spaniards, silver medalists in the tournament two years ago, will next face Australia or Japan in Saturday's Semi-Finals.
Carlos Colinas' charges scored the first six points of the game as they used the transition game to great effect and that set the tone for what was to come.
Canada, winners of their six games in the Preliminary and Eight-Finals Rounds, struggled to penetrate and get good shots against a stifling man-to-man defense.
They could not find their rhythm in the early going and it cost them dearly as they had to play catch-up the rest of the way.
Diane Lee hit a three-pointer to get her team within 10-8 but the Spaniards responded emphatically by getting their first double-digit lead, 32-20, thanks in large part to Astou Ndour.
The 1.93m centre did a great job on the offensive boards in the early part of the second quarter, grabbing rebounds and turning them into putbacks.
Rich Chambers' girls looked out of sorts and could not stop their opponents' from scoring almost at will in the key.
Things got worse for them as Spain soon also found the range from the perimeter.
Maria Espana connecting on consecutive long bombs from the left wing before Elena Diaz hit one of her own from the right side.
Nirra Fields - whose impact was limited by early foul trouble - and Michelle Plouffe helped the Canadians cut the deficit to 35-26 at the break.
Spanish guard Querald Casas (pictured) made sure that Spain did not come out complacent to start the third quarter as she scored four quick points inside and pushed the lead up to 42-26.
The game went through a bit of a lull soon thereafter as the two teams turned the ball over and committed questionable fouls.
The Canadians got within 50-41 early in the final period when Michelle Plouffe scored on a putback.
Spain did not panick and instead re-asserted their authority with a 10-0 run that effectively put the result beyond doubt.
Astou Ndour (Spain centre): “I was ready for this game. I have been working hard, so right now I feel ready for everything. I feel very proud, and very, very happy like the whole team."
"I feel very proud, and very, very happy like the whole team."
Rich Chambers (Canada head coach): "Our aim is to finish fifth now. We’ve set some milestones here that we’ve never done before as a country, now we have to regroup and try to finish fifth.
"I am unbelievably proud, they’re a fabulous group of girls, and they’ve represented our country unbelievably well."
(On Spain): "They could have finished first in their group. They lost to France by two, led by six points against Australia late and blew it, and only lost to Brazil by a few. I think they could win the whole tournament.”