Olympic round-up: Schmidt’s assist helps Canadian soccer women beat South Africa

Facing a virtual must-win scenario at the London Olympics on Saturday, Sophie Schmidt and the Canadian women's soccer team came through.

Sophie Schmidt and the Canadian women's soccer team notched their first win of the Olympics on Saturday.

Sophie Schmidt and the Canadian women's soccer team notched their first win of the Olympics on Saturday.

Facing a virtual must-win scenario at the London Olympics on Saturday, Sophie Schmidt and the Canadian women’s soccer team came through with an impressive 3-0 victory over South Africa.

The Canadians, coming off a 2-1 loss to Japan in their Olympic opener on Wednesday, needed to beat the South Africans to keep their dreams of moving on to the knockout stages alive.

Melissa Tancredi gave Canada the lead in the seventh minute, and superstar striker Christine Sinclair tallied twice in the second half to send Canada to the win.

Schmidt, a 24-year-old midfielder from Abbotsford, set up Sinclair’s second goal in the 86th minute. She found a seam in the South African defence and sent a long pass ahead that hit Sinclair in stride, and the Burnaby native finished on the breakaway in clinical fashion.

Canada’s final game of the group stage is Tuesday against Sweden (6:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, Sportsnet), and the winner will secure passage to the knockout stages as one of the top two finishers in Group F. Should Canada draw or lose, they would have to rely on qualifying for the quarter-finals as one of the top two third-place finishers in overall group play.

SMITH’S SCORING OUTBURST GOES FOR NAUGHT AS RUSSIA RALLIES

The Canadian women’s basketball team tasted heartbreak in their Olympic opener.

Team Canada was on the verge of an upset on Saturday, leading second-ranked Russia by 10 points with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But the Russians stormed back and won 58-53, ending the game on an 18-3 run.

Mission’s Kim Smith had a huge game for Canada, shooting 6-for-9 from the field – including 5-for-7 from three-point range – en route to a team-high 20 points. Fellow Mission native Teresa Gabriele finished 0-for-2 with two rebounds in 12 minutes.

“We know we are a good team,” Smith stated in a Canada Basketball press release. “The rest of the world may not know that yet, but we’ve been building this program for two years and tonight I think we showed that.”

Up next for the Canadian basketball women is a date with host Great Britain on Monday (12 p.m. PST, Sportsnet).

HAYDEN’S RELAY TEAM COMES UP SHORT

Mission swimmer Brent Hayden and the Canadian men’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team finished fifth in the event’s first heat and failed to move on to the final.

The Canadian team, which also includes Thomas Gossland, Richard Hortness and Colin Russell, posted a time of 3:17.35 on Sunday morning, which was not good enough to advance.

Up next for Hayden is the individual 100m free, which begins with preliminary races on Tuesday (heats 2 a.m. PST, CTV; semifinals 10:45 a.m. PST, CTV) and culminates with the finals Wednesday (11:30 a.m. PST, CTV).