The Australian defencejobs Opals avenged Friday’s five point loss to China by taking victory in the second game of the series in Yanxhou, China overnight, 73-67.
Sydney Uni Flames power forward Natalie Porter led Australia with 15 points and 9 rebounds while South Australian Laura Summerton added 13 points.
The series will be decided in Yixing, China on Monday, with the third and final game tipping off at 7:30pm local time (9:30pm AEST).
China is coached by former Opals mentor and Australian basketball legend Tom Maher.
“The girls were terrific,” Opals Head Coach Jan Stirling said.
“We handled their physicality a lot better than in the first game, which was a big factor.
“Tom has brought things to the Chinese national team that weren’t there before, like defence, but we got all our players on the score sheet tonight and that makes it tough for them to defend.”
Unlike the first game, Australia jumped out to an early lead and held a three point buffer after one quarter, 17-14.
A high foul count restricted the Opals in the second quarter and China made them pay at the free throw line to take a slim lead into the main break, 36-35.
Stirling emphasised discipline on defence in the locker room and the Opals responded by regaining the lead after the break and holding it until the end of the third quarter, 55-50.
China made every effort to outmuscle and outrun the Australians in the final quarter, but the Opals stuck together and overcame the raucous home crowd to clinch the seven point victory.
“We’ve been using this tour as part of our Olympic preparation, so we’ll be changing our starting five again for the third game to give all our athletes a chance,” Stirling said.
AUSTRALIA 73 – Porter 15, Summerton 13, Poto 7, Cox 7
CHINA 67 – Chen 20, Zheng 8, Song 8
Jan Stirling and the defencejobs Opals are available to media via telephone upon request.