The Australian Under 19 Women’s basketball team, the Gems, finished fifth at the 2007 FIBA World Championship in the Slovak Republic this morning after defeating the host nation 64-54 in their final game.
The 10-point win gives the Gems a 7-and-2 win/loss record at the tournament.
The Gems were knocked out of medal contention in the quarter finals when Spanish guard Gabriela Ocete fluked a half court shot in the final seconds to win 72-69.
“It was a real slog,” Head Coach Dean Kinsman said. “Both teams were out on their feet but we had enough petrol at the end.
“It is a funny feeling winning this one. The girls feel a little bit shallow after winning seven games and losing two close ones and getting what we wanted.
“We played five European teams and beat four but we still fell short of our expectations.
“It takes courage to comeback when your medal chances have been taken away.
“It was been a real war of attrition with nine games in eleven days. It takes a big toll on young bodies so we will unwind now and have a rest.”
Mackay’s Marianna Tolo scored 16 points to go with 6 rebounds to lead the Gems with guard Katie Ebzery adding 11 points and South Australian Abby Bishop contributed 10 points and 7 rebounds in support.
Lucia Turbova scored a game high 18 points to lead the Slovak Republic with Regina Palusna adding 12 points, 6 rebound and 5 steals in support.
The teams felt each other out in the opening stages of the first term before the Gems, trailing 11-7 scored the final nine points of the quarter to lead 16-11 at quarter time.
The Gems pushed their lead to 16 points with two minutes left in the second term before the host nation rallied with six straight points to trail 33-23 at half time.
The Australians cruised back out to a 14-point lead but to the Slovaks credit managed to grind the Gems lead again back to six points but a late surge saw the Gems lead 52-41 at three quarter time.The Slovak Republic won the final term 13-12 but the Gems held off a number of their offensive raids to grind out a hard fought 10-point win.