Opals lose final warm-up game to France
Monday July 23, 2012
The Opals have gone down to France in a narrow defeat under difficult circumstances earlier this morning, losing 64-58 in France in their final warm-up game ahead of London.
Belinda Snell was again the top-scorer for the Aussies with 14 points while Liz Cambage and Abby Bishop both finished with nine points each.
For France, Isabelle Yacoupou top-scored with 14 points, while Sandrine Gruda chipped in with 12 points.
The Opals suited up smaller than usual in this game with stars Lauren Jackson and Suzy Batkovic both resting, instead now turning their attention towards the Olympic Tournament.
Immediately, they seemed impacted by their lack of size and experience in the paint, registering only 10 first-quarter points, but holding their opponent to 13 to trail by three points after the first quarter.
The second continued the low-scoring nature of the contest, this time the Aussies with their noses in front, winning the term 14-11. The two sides headed into the change rooms level at 24 apiece, with the biggest lead for the game to this point being four points, held briefly by the French in the second quarter.
It was the third period where this game was won, France going on a huge offensive run in the highest scoring period of the contest by far. They piled in 25 points to the Opals 16 to stream nine points clear, and in the context of the game, mounting a lead that was going to be difficult to peg back.
This proved to be true in the end: the Opals were gallant in the fourth and were able to make up some ground, but the size and experience of the French side enabled them to hang on and record a confidence-boosting win for them, in the end clinging to the six point victory.
Statistically, the game was very evenly balanced. The rebound count was tight, with the Aussies taking the edge 32 boards to 31. Both sides got to the foul line a similar number of times and their shooting percentages were reasonably even across the floor.
In the end, France had the ball a little more than the Aussies offensively and enjoyed just a handful more field goal attempts as a result, and in the end that, coupled with their break-out third quarter, was enough to secure victory.
Attention for the Australians now turns to London as they prepare for a match-up with Great Britain on Day One of the Games.
France 64 (Yacoupou 14, Gruda 12)
Australian Opals 58 (Snell 14, Cambage 9, Bishop 9)
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