Gems down Japanese tourists

Gems down Japanese tourists

 The Australian Under19 women’s basketball team, the Gems, recorded a comfortable win over the Japanese Under19 women’s national team at the AIS Arena in Canberra last night, 96-74. The Japanese are touring Australia to prepare for the 2007 FIBA World

 The Australian Under19 women’s basketball team, the Gems, recorded a comfortable win over the Japanese Under19 women’s national team at the AIS Arena in Canberra last night, 96-74.

The Japanese are touring Australia to prepare for the 2007 FIBA World Championship for Under 19 women, set to begin in the Slovak Republic in July.

Japan are currently ranked 2nd behind China in the Under19 category of all basketball playing nations in Asia.

A distinct height advantage allowed the Gems to dominate the rebound count, forming the cornerstone of their 22-point win.

196cm centre Marianna Tolo, a Queenslander on scholarship with the AIS, top scored for Australia with 19 points to go along with 9 rebounds.

She was well supported by 2007 defencejobs WNBL Rookie of the Year Cayla Francis who scored 16 points with 13 rebounds and 2006/07 defencejobs WNBL championship winner Abby Bishop, who posted 12 points and 17 rebounds.

Pint-sized point guard Nicole Hunt from Warrnambool in Victoria was also impressive, controlling the Gems’ offence while contributing 14 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.

Japanese guard duo Eri Nakahata and Naomi Hayashi led Japan with 23 points and 16 points respectively.

The fast-paced Asian style of play in the opening period saw the Gems trailing by two points at quarter time, 21-19, but the Aussies adjusted in the second period to outscore Japan 32-17 to lead 51-38 at half time.

The Japanese adopted a physical approach in the third period in an attempt to frustrate the rebounding dominance of Bishop and the Gems, but were unable to eat into the lead to trail 71-58 after three quarters.

Gems Head Coach Dean Kinsman rotated his players in the final period and the Australians responded to outscore the Japanese 25-19 in the fourth quarter, finishing the game ahead by 18 points, 96-74.

“It is the first time we have played against an Asian group since early 2006, so to be able to make the adaptation to their style of game after the first quarter was really important,” Kinsman said.


“We did a good job in the second quarter to open up a lead while making the right defensive adjustments.

“It is a good guide to see where we’re at in relation to the Asian teams.”

A second game will be played between the two teams at the AIS Arena in Canberra tonight.  

Australia U19 96 - Tolo 19, Francis 16, Hunt 14
Japan U19 74 -
Nakahata 23, Hayashi 16, Tomizaki 9
at the AIS Arena, Canberra.