Opals record convincing win over Great Britain
Sunday July 15, 2012
Australia’s women’s Basketball team, the Opals, have backed up after a tough win over France yesterday to run away with a big 24-point win over the Tom Maher-led Great Britain this morning, sealing the convincing win, 87-63.
Liz Cambage is proving a handful for opponents, again top-scoring with 29 points against her former coach at the Bulleen Boomers. Belinda Snell was again impressive with 16 points, while Jenna O’Hea returned after a heavy knock against the French to deliver 13 points.
For the Brits, Jo Leedham finished with 12 points while Azania Stewart added 10 points for the home side.
Great Britain started the match with great energy and physicality. In a tight opening, the game went point-for-point with the Opals feeling the full-court pressure of the Brits.
As she did against the French, Cambage provided a strong presence on the inside with the side under pressure, providing great options of the Opals offensively.
Great Britain were getting great results from the dribble penetration and after a high-scoring first quarter, the Opals led 28-23.
The point-for-point nature of the contest continued into the second period as Bulleen Boomers import in the WNBL Jo Leedham proved a stand-out for Great Britain as their main offensive threat.
At the half, the Opals, despite registering 52 points, conceded 45 to see the home side well and truly in this contest.
As they did in their first game of the Invitational, the Aussies switched to a zone defense in the third and it immediately paid dividends, forcing Great Britain to take perimeter shots.
The Opals controlled the defensive boards and ignited their running game which would ultimately see them build their insurmountable lead.
O’Hea and Snell were impressive for the Aussies in the open floor, making the most of their wide-open looks, while the point guards continue to find the best scoring options under pressure.
In the fourth, the Opals extended their lead and kept rotating though their list, to ensure the whole team saw on-court action.
Defensively the Opals put a clamp on Great Britain, keeping them to just 18 points in the second half. In what was a physical encounter, the Aussies’ ability to run away with the win is an encouraging sign, with London only two weeks away.
“It was a good win over a physical GB team,” said Opals head coach Carrie Graf. “The second half defensive adjustments were key to the win. We are continuing to improve each game,” she said.
Australian Opals 87 (Cambage 29, Snell 16, O’Hea 13)
Great Britain 63 (Leedham 12, Stewart 10)
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