The Australian Under 21 women’s basketball team, the Sapphires have progressed to the gold medal game at the 2007 FIBA World championships after a determined 88 – 81 win over France in the semi- finals at the SK Vidnoje Hall in Vidnoje, Russia last night.
The Sapphires will face off against the United States in the gold medal game at 9pm AEST tonight.
The Sapphires suffered a narrow two point loss to the USA in the opening game of the tournament last week.
defencejobs opals squad member Jenna O’Hea scored 21 points to go with 8 rebounds and six assists to lead the Sapphires with Bendigo Spirit point guard Kathleen McLeod contributing 13 points and 8 assists and Adelaide Lightning guard Renae Camino also tallying 13 points.
18-year-old sensations Cayla Francis and Abby Bishop posted 12 point, 12 rebound and 12 point and 10 rebound double-doubles respectively.
Sandrine Gruda scored a game high 28 points to lead France Nwal Miyem adding 23 points.
The Sapphires continued their first quarter tournament dominance, jumping to a strong 25-14 first term lead.
The French responded with a powerful 23-9 second quarter win to hold a 37-34 half time lead.
Determined team play saw the Sapphires regain the lead in the third term, which they won 27-22.
The Sapphires continued the high scoring game winning the final term 27-22 to post a gutsy 7 point win.
There were no injuries to report.
The coach and team members are available for comment upon request.
LIVE statistics for all Sapphires games are available at www.russia2007.fiba.com