Gems shine to make it 5-from-5

Gems shine to make it 5-from-5

The Australian Under 19 Women’s basketball team, the Gems, registered their fifth straight win, a gutsy 85-79 victory over the Czech Republic at the 2007 FIBA World Championship in the Slovak Republic this morning. With five players scoring nine points

The Australian Under 19 Women’s basketball team, the Gems, registered their fifth straight win, a gutsy 85-79 victory over the Czech Republic at the 2007 FIBA World Championship in the Slovak Republic this morning.

With five players scoring nine points or more combined with crucial defensive stoppages, the Gems remain undefeated and assured themselves of a place in the final eight. 

The Gems play Serbia, who are also undefeated, at 6pm tonight Wednesday, August 1 (2am AEST, Thursday August 2) in their crossover game ahead of the quarter finals.

“It was a really tough encounter,” Head Coach Dean Kinsman said. “It seemed like the whole game went basket for basket.”

“Every time we were challenged the girls always found something. They have so much character and kept fighting all the way.

“If we can eliminate some simple errors we are in very good shape.

“Our support staff is doing a terrific job. They have ice baths for the girls, are keeping them well hydrated and we are no doubt the fittest team here.”

Superstar South Australian centre Cayla Francis posted her third double-double of the tournament with a powerful 20-point, 12 rebound, 2 steal and 2 blocked shot performance to lead the Gems.

Forward Ellie Manou contributed 12 points, Brisbane’s Rebecca Schatz added 11 points, Warrnambool’s Nicole Hunt scored 10 points and Canberra Capitals centre Abby Bishop tallied 9 points and a game high 13 rebounds.

Andrea Ovsikova scored 17 points to lead the Czech Republic with Kamila Stepanova adding an 11-point, 10 rebound double-double in support.

The opening term illustrated the type of game ahead with the teams trading baskets for the entire quarter, the Gems narrowly ahead 17-14 at quarter time.

The Gems broke the game open in the second term, surging to a 9-point lead on the back of transition baskets and strong defensive work from Francis and Manou but the young Aussies finished the quarter poorly, allowing the Czech’s to go on a 15-4 run in the final minutes to hold a 40-37 halftime lead.

Each time the Czech Republic made a basket in the third term the Gems responded and with Manou scoring eight straight points to finish the quarter, scores were locked at 60-all at three quarter time.

In an epic final quarter, the Czech Republic were ahead 75-72 with two minutes remaining before Schatz stepped up and made a series of crucial defensive stops and with Francis and Manou dominating the rebounding duel, the Gems finished on a 13-4 run to seal their place in the quarter finals.

There were no injuries to report.