CHEMIST WAREHOUSE AUSTRALIAN OPALS ADVANCE DIRECTLY TO FIBA WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINALS
Their 3-0 record through the group stage means that the Opals bypass a Quarter-Final qualification game tomorrow night and instead can sit back until Friday night to await their Quarter-Final opponent.
The Opals had impressed offensively in their opening two games of the tournament but were absolutely clinical in the first half against Turkey, blowing them out of the water by shooting 64% to the main break.
As is now the norm for Australia, Liz Cambage got them started with the first two baskets but then Cayla George (12 points, five assists) showed her range with a three-pointer.
Not to be outdone, Cambage followed suit with a three of her own and in the blink of an eye, the centre had 14 points on 6-6 shooting to give Australia a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter.
Turkey looked to respond with some hot shooting from beyond the arc as well but Steph Talbot (eight points, four assists) drilled two of her own to hold them at bay.
Sami Whitcomb (11 points, three steals), who is proving to be a real weapon off the bench, then scored a quick five points herself to push the Opals to a 13-point lead at quarter-time.
Australia cooled off momentarily in the second period, going scoreless for two minutes but the drought did not last long with Alanna Smith (six points) scoring a put-back before Cambage returned to the floor to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
She racked up 24 points midway through the second term without missing an attempt on 11-11 shooting from the field.
That extended the Opals’ lead to over 20 by the main break as Australia hit 9-13 (69%) from the field in the second period.
With the damage done, Cambage was able to sit for a majority of the second half and she played only 19 minutes to finish with a stat-line of 25 points on 11-13 shooting, seven rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
That gave the likes of Alex Bunton (three points, seven rebounds) and Ezi Magbegor (four points) some extended court time while Bec Allen (13 points, three assists) showed off with two shot clock buzzer-beaters in the final term.
When Tessa Lavey (three points, one assist) hit a late three-pointer, every active Aussie was on the scoreboard with coach Sandy Brondello again able to rest captain Jenna O’Hea.
Find the box score here.
Advancing directly to the Quarter-Finals, the Opals will now await the final group stage results and then play the winner of the Quarter-Final qualifier between the second-placed team in Group D and third-placed team in Group C.
Stay tuned to Basketball Australia for updates on game time and opponent for the Opals’ next game on Friday night.
The Chemist Warehouse Australian Opals Schedule for the FIBA Women’s World Cup (all times AEST):
September 22: Australia def. Nigeria (86-68)
September 23: Australia def. Argentina (84-43)
September 25: Australia def. Turkey (90-64)
September 28: Quarter-Finals
September 29: Semi-Finals
September 30: Medal Games
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