Opals show Kiwis who is world’s best

Opals show Kiwis who is world’s best

Swarming team defence remained the common theme as the Australian defencejobs Opals overcame neighbours New Zealand 99-52 to remain unbeaten in the 29th William Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei overnight. After a fiercely contested first half, the World Champions were

Swarming team defence remained the common theme as the Australian defencejobs Opals overcame neighbours New Zealand 99-52 to remain unbeaten in the 29th William Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei overnight.

After a fiercely contested first half, the World Champions were able to ramp up the defence after the major break, restricting the Tall Ferns to 19 points for the half and recording their third win in as many days in the hot and humid conditions of Hsinchuang Stadium.

The Opals have accounted for the Japanese University Games outfit, the USA Athletes in Action and now their rivals from across the Tasman to establish themselves as tournament favourites and set up a mouth watering clash with the Chinese Taipei national team on the final day of the tournament next Tuesday.

Sydney Flames forward Natalie Porter led the Australians in scoring with 18 points at a 60 per cent clip and revelled in the opportunity to mix it with rising Tall Ferns teenage centre Jessica McCormack.


Veteran forward Michelle Brogan also enjoyed the challenge of competing against one of the rising stars of Oceania basketball and produced a typically cerebral display to finish with six rebounds, four steals, four assists and countless deflections.


For the Tall Ferns, University of Oregon guard Mikaela Cocks showed she is a player of the future, leading the team in scoring and producing a solid all-court game against the experienced Australian back-court.


With the humid conditions continuing, Coach Jan Stirling was again keen to ensure an even spread of minutes and once again, her charges responded by producing a high energy style of basketball, keyed around an energetic and rock solid defence.


With three games in as many days and two more to come before a rest day on Monday, Stirling has been cognisant of managing the workload of the athletes in the warm conditions.


"We said from the start of the tournament, we wanted to have an even spread of minutes and the girls have responded by playing hard, working together and committing to what we   are trying to do," she said.


"Any time you play New Zealand, it is always a battle and they certainly showed tonight they are a quality young group that will only benefit from this sort of international experience."


The Opals will face one of the tournament's home teams tomorrow when they clash with the Chinese Taipei White team, which consists of some of the best young players in the country.

This clash, as with all games during the tournament, is being beamed live throughout Asia on ESPN.

AUSTRALIA 99 – Porter 18, Grima 14, Summerton 12
NEW ZEALAND 52 – Cox 15, Wharemate 9