Opals dominate China, focus now on London
Saturday July 21, 2012
The Australian Opals women’s basketball team have continued to show their dominance in the build-up to the London Games, handing China a 31-point drubbing as they grow in confidence with less than a week to go till the London Games.
Lauren Jackson top-scored with 17 points including a perfect 8/8 from the line, while Belinda Snell continued her fine shooting form, finishing with 16 points.
In what was a fantastic team effort, the Opals thumped China over the first three quarters to streak away to the 84-53 win, one that was set-up in the first term, China managing only five points under the immense pressure of the Opals, who dropped 23 points of their own for the term.
Jackson dominated early, particularly on offense, scoring at will while also providing great leadership on the boards.
The defensive intensity of the Aussies continued into the second as the frustrated Chinese outfit were forced into some easy turnovers.
The Opals had a strong possession game that allowed them to get several second-chance opportunities on offense. The Aussie bigs dominated over China, with Chinese star Wei Wei finding herself in early foul-trouble, and relegated to the bench. Chen Nan, veteran for China also struggled to find consistency with the tight Opals defense, the Aussies going into the half in front 45-18.
With the Opals streaming away with the game, the bench were able to gain some much-needed court time in the second half. The team stayed aggressive on the ball and were winning the possession game. China moved to a zone defense which gave the Aussie sharp-shooters like Belinda Snell some time to go to work. Snell was devastating from the perimeter, as the lead was out to 34 points at three-quarter time, before the side cruised to the 31-point victory.
The Opals dominated the rebound count, and at both ends, out-worked China. In her first match back from a period on the sidelines, Batkovic was impressive for the Aussies, her work-rate on and off the ball was a standout and she played a big part in the side’s win.
The turnover count was also a big positive for Opals coughing it up just nine times to 19 for China.
“[It was a] great overall team effort; we rebounded very well and our possession play was the key to winning by such a big margin,” said Opals point guard Sam Richards.
“This tournament is part of our final Olympic preparations so each match is very important as we look to build and be at our peak come game one in London.”
Australian Opals 84 (Jackson 17, Snell 16)
China 53 (Nan 12, Zeng Yu 10)
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