Opals secure a tough win over Turkey
Saturday June 9, 2012
The Australian Opals have tipped off their European tour, with a solid but hard-fought 57-49 win over Turkey in Karlovy Cary in the Czech Republic this morning (AEST).
Liz Cambage top scored for the Opals, finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Abby Bishop added 12 points and six rebounds, with Lauren Jackson finishing wth 10 points.
For the Turkish side, Bahar Caglar top-scored with eight points.
In a game of firsts — it was the first senior Opals game for Rachel Jarry, and the first time that Jackson and Harrower have ever played Turkey in senior international competition — it was instead the Turkish side who came out stronger in the first term, applying significant defensive pressure and making it hard for the Opals to establish themselves in the paint. Turkey took a 10-7 lead into quarter time.
In the second quarter, the Opals lifted their defensive work rate, and despite still struggling offensively, pegged back the margin. They began controlling the tempo and scores were even at the half time break, 29-29.
Head coach Carrie Graf talks a lot about the possession game, and the Opals were starting to take control of it in the third period, enabling the Aussies to run the floor and knock down some easy baskets.
The team continued to keep their work rate up and controlled the game from there, with a seven point three quarter-time-lead turning into an eight point victory.
Although not an easy win, the Opals showed class to come out on top under difficult circumstances. But Turkey also showed that they are an exciting side on the rise and have their sights set on making it through the Olympic Qualification Tournament at the end of this month and earning a London berth.
“It wasn’t a easy win, or a pretty win, particularly offensively, but we ground it out and got the job done,” said head coach Carrie Graf.
The Opals next game is against Hungary tomorrow.
Australian Opals 57 (Cambage 16, Bishop 12) defeated Turkey 49 (Caglar 8, Isil 7, Esmeral 7)
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