Trailing by two points with one quarter to play, the World Champion Opals restricted the potent Americans to ten points in the final stanza while registering 26 of their own to run away with the victory. Rohanee Cox led Australia with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and received good support from Hollie Grima (13, 8 rebounds) and Erin Phillips (12, 8). Three-time Olympic Gold Medallist Lisa Leslie top scored for the United States with 17 points. “It’s a terrific way to start the tournament,” Opals head coach Jan Stirling said. “Any win against the USA is good for us.
We locked them down in the fourth quarter and played fantastic defence and we dug in and got the win. But what I told our players after the game is that if we lose to China tomorrow this win doesn’t count for anything. We have to back it up.” Australia’s youngest player, 19-year old Abby Bishop, missed the game with a corked thigh sustained during a training session on Saturday morning.
But China upset Australia led by former Opals head coach Tom Maher with Opals legend Michele Timms as his assistant.
The Opals trailed by sixteen points in the final quarter and fought back valiantly but ran out of time to fall by three points, 67-64. Olympian Suzy Batkovic top scored for Australia with 13 points while Rohanee Cox and Emma Randall both finished with a dozen.
ADF Opals head coach Jan Stirling’s warning to her players of a let-down after defeating the United States was in vain Australia was outmuscled by China from the outset and trailed at every break.
“Twenty-four turnovers is certainly not going to cut it in international competition but the important thing for us is how we respond to this. “A good win against Cuba tomorrow night (Monday) means we’re still in contention.”