Opals out-muscled by Cuba

Opals out-muscled by Cuba

After defeating the United States on Saturday, the Australian women’s basketball team has dropped its second game in two days at the ‘Good Luck Beijing’ test event  in China [official site], falling to Cuba by eight points, 60-52. [Box Score] Missing

After defeating the United States on Saturday, the Australian women’s basketball team has dropped its second game in two days at the ‘Good Luck Beijing’ test event  in China [official site], falling to Cuba by eight points, 60-52. [Box Score]

Missing six of its World Champions and testing possible combinations for the main event in August, the Australian Defence Force Opals [media guide] looked set to take out the tournament after winning its opening game but will now play off for a minor placing despite two matches remaining.

Australia shot the ball better than Cuba but a massive 29 turnovers doomed the ADF Opals.

“We’ve had two games in a row where we’ve been played very physical and we haven’t executed in the offensive court,” ADF Opals head coach Jan Stirling said.

“They disrupted us, but we have to learn to function under that pressure.

“We became hesitant and that compounded the problem so we have a fair bit to work through.”

Turnovers proved decisive in Sunday’s loss to China and the bad habit continued for the ADF Opals in a dour first quarter that a more athletic and aggressive Cuba won, 15-11.Cuba’s stealing prowess provided an advantage in the second quarter while Australia continued to struggle at the offensive end and when Cazanas made a buzzer beater to end the half the ADF Opals were down ten, 33-23.The scoring dried up almost entirely after the main break and when Suzy Batkovic left the game with a dislocated thumb on her shooting hand and was followed soon after by Erin Phillips with a twisted left ankle the problem continued.With one quarter to play Australia trailed by eleven points, 43-32, and when three minutes remained on the clock Australia had only managed to reduce the margin by one.Renae Camino scored five straight points and the deficit was reduced to four with one minute left but Cuba held its nerve in the dying stages to claim the victory.Erin Phillips is expected to return to the line-up for Wednesday’s game against Korea but Suzy Batkovic will not play for the remainder of the tournament. All nations will now enjoy a rest day before games on Wednesday and Thursday and the playoff for final positions on Saturday.Quarter by quarter:1. CUB 15 AUS 11 H. CUB 33 AUS 23 (18-12)3. CUB 43 AUS 32 (10-9)F. CUB 60 AUS 52 (20-17)CUBA 60 – Y Tizon 22, Y Peillon 15, S Cazanas 7 defAUSTRALIA 52 – H Grima 10, N Porter 9, R Camino 7at Beijing Olympic Basketball Stadium, CHINA