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Kia Nurse had 17 points and Canada’s offence erupted for 24 points in the fourth quarter to edge Nigeria 73-72 on Sunday in the seventh-place game at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

Miah-Marie Langlois added 14 points, including the eventual deciding free throw with 11 seconds left, and sank 3-of-4 three-point attempts for the Canadians. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe chipped in with 10 points.

Later Sunday, Brittney Griner scored 15 points to help the U.S. beat Australia 73-56 to win the gold medal.

It was the third consecutive World Cup title for the U.S. – something the country had never accomplished in its illustrious history. The victory gave the U.S. 10 World Cup gold medals and was the 22nd win in a row overall for the Americans dating back to the bronze medal game in 2006. That was the same year that Australia won its only World Cup title. The Americans lost to Russia in the semifinals and haven’t lost since in the World Cup or Olympics.

Canada was ranked No. 5 in the world heading into the tournament and went 3-0 through round robin to win its group. But the Canadians fell out of medal contention with a quarter-final loss to No. 2 Spain on Friday.

They also lost Saturday’s consolation bracket opener against China, relegating them to the seventh-place game.

“It hurts right now because we had those expectations,” said Canada’s Natalie Achonwa. “We were good enough to meet those expectations but we did fall short.”

Atonye Nyingifa led Nigeria with 17 points and Evelyn Akhator had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Trailing by three points with a few seconds left, Nyingifa drove for a layup instead of attempting a potential tying three-pointer. She followed up her own miss with a putback just before the buzzer, but Nigeria finished a point short.

Canada led 21-17 after the first quarter but scored just nine points in the second to head into halftime down 35-30.

Both teams put up 19 points in the third, putting Nigeria up 54-49 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We’ll take what we can from this experience,” said Canada’s head coach Lisa Thomaidis. “When you look at how much we’ve improved from Rio (Olympic Games in 2016) to now, I thought there was significant improvement in a lot of our players. So now we need to make sure that happens again between now and 2020.”

Even with the loss, it was a record-breaking performance for Nigeria. The team became the first African nation to reach the quarter-finals and win three games in the tournament.

In the gold medal game, Diana Taurasi, who scored 13 points, helped the U.S. get off to a strong start with a 10-0 lead. Australia could only get within three the rest of the way. It was the first time in the tournament that the U.S. didn’t trail in a game. As the final seconds wound down, Taurasi hugged all her teammates and coaches on the bench.

The victory gave Sue Bird a fourth World Cup gold medal and fifth medal overall in the tournament. Both are the most for any player. It also made Dawn Staley the first person ever to win a World Cup title as a player, assistant and head coach.

Breanna Stewart, who scored 10 points in the final, was named the MVP of the tournament.

Australia’s Liz Cambage, who came into the game averaging 27.2 points in the tournament, was held to just seven. She remained the No. 1 enemy of the Spanish fans, who jeered and whistled every time she touched the ball. Cambage keyed Australia’s win over the host nation in the semifinals. Spain won the bronze medal, beating Belgium 67-60 earlier Sunday.

The U.S. led 35-27 at the half and didn’t give Australia any chance to come back, scoring the first nine points of the third quarter.

This was Australia’s best finish at the World Cup since 2006.

Spain beat Belgium 67-60 to win the bronze medal, while France topped China 81-67 to come in fifth.

With files from The Associated Press

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