ANKARA, Turkey — University of Utah junior Michelle Plouffe and former Utes Kim Smith and Shona Thorburn are headed to London for the 2012 Olympic Games with the Canadian women's national basketball team. Canada won back-to-back games over the weekend to earn the final qualifying berth at the FIBA World Olympic Tournament.
"We are really pleased for Michelle, Kim and Shona," said Utah women's basketball coach Anthony Levrets. "The chance to represent their country in the sport they love, and have worked at their whole lives, must be an amazing feeling. We are thrilled for them and we know they will also do a great job of representing the University of Utah and our women's basketball program on the biggest stage in the world."
Needing two wins to secure the final qualifying spot, Canada defeated Argentina on Saturday, 58-41. Thorburn started the game and tied for team highs assists (four) and rebounds (six), while also blocking a shot in 24 minutes of action. Smith scored four points coming off the bench in 21 minutes and matched Thorburn's six boards. Plouffe started the game but was held scoreless in the contest.
With only Japan standing in the way of qualification on Sunday, Canada jumped out to a 21-11 lead in the first quarter en route to a 71-63 victory. Smith scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds, while dishing out three assists and recording two steals. Thorburn chipped in six points, three rebounds and one assist. Plouffe did not play.
The 2012 Olympic Games in London will mark Canada's first trip to the Olympics since the 2000 games in Sydney.