The Australian under-19 women’s basketball team defeated Sweden 72-68 at the FIBA World Championship in the Slovak Republic overnight, ending the Scandinavians’ unbeaten run at the tournament.
The victory was the third on the trot for the Gems, who now advance to the crossover round and matches against Canada, the Czech Republic and Serbia as one of four undefeated teams of the 16 nations competing.
South Australian Cayla Francis led the Gems with 21 points and 8 rebounds while Canberra Capitals forward Abby Bishop posted 14 points and 11 rebounds in support.
Queenslander Marianna Tolo was also a solid contributor, tallying 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in her 18 minutes on court.
Sweden’s Frida Eldebrink, the tournament’s leading scorer at 26 points per game, scored 23 points in defeat.
It was a rough and tumble first quarter but Australia came out on top with the slightest of margins, 14-13, before extending the lead to nine points by half time, 39-30.
Sweden continued to take it to the Aussies in the second half and when Australia’s shooting percentage fell the blonde bombers were in with a chance, but the Gems maintained focus and weathered the onslaught to take victory by four points.
Previously in devastating shooting touch, the Aussies connected on only 5-of-20 three point shots for the game as well as 11-from-23 free throws.
After a rest day today, Australia’s next game will be against Canada, who has ridden a roller coaster of results in the tournament to date, with an opening game loss to Serbia followed by a two point victory over Japan and a seven point loss to the Czech Republic.
Tip off will be at 1:30pm local time on Monday, which is 9:30pm Monday night in Australia’s Eastern states.