The Australian under 19 women’s basketball team thrashed Brazil in the opening game of the World Championship in the Slovak Republic overnight, 84-51.
Playing in the nation’s capital, Bratislava, the Gems “did it for the Emus”, Australia’s under 19 men’s team that fell to Brazil by one point in the quarter final of the junior men’s World Championship in Serbia last week.
South Australian Cayla Francis, who starred for Australia in the more senior under 21 women’s World Championship in Moscow earlier this month, led Australia with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Standing 194cm, or 6 foot 4 in the old scale, Francis is a scoring threat both inside the key and out. She successfully connected on 3-from-5 field goals, 5-from-5 free throws, and 3-from-3 three-point shots.
Newcastle’s Katie Ebzery was also perfect from long range, shooting 4-from-4 from behind the arc on her way to 17 points.
Mia Newley, another South Australian and younger sister to Australia Post Boomer and recent NBA draftee Brad Newley, scored 10 points in support.
“We are really happy to get the first win out of the way,” Gems Head Coach Dean Kinsman said.
“This win is just a small stepping stone.”
The Gems were switched on from the get-go and led 24-12 after one quarter. Australia’s stifling defence continued in the second term and by half time the lead had ballooned to twenty five points, 49-24.
In true South American style, Brazil bounced back after the break but nine straight points from Katie Ebzery helped Australia maintain their advantage and with one quarter to play the Gems led, 67-39.
It was smooth sailing from then on, with Australia’s defence restricting Brazil to a 12-point quarter for the third time in the match.
Australia shot a devastating 13-from-19 three-pointers (68.4%) for the match and dominated the rebound count, 51-35.
The Gems are scheduled to play their next game against Mali at 6pm today local time, which is 4am Saturday morning AEST.
“Mali are a bit unorthodox, but they rebound well and they can be tricky if you’re not ready,” Kinsman said.
AUSTRALIA 84 – Francis 20, Ebzery 17, Newley 10
BRAZIL 51 – Teixeira 11, Gomes 10, Souza 7