Opals roll a double over Russia

Opals roll a double over Russia

The Australian Defence Force Opals produced another display of solid team defence to claim a 68-51 victory over Russia in game two of a three game series in Brunico, Italy this morning.

The Opals won the opening encounter on Sunday night, local time, 65-61.

After another sluggish start, the Opals turned the defensive intensity up to restrict the powerful Russian group to just 20 second half points on route to a comfortable victory.

The European champions jumped out to an explosive start in this encounter, scoring the first seven points of the contest and looking a team keen to make amends for the loss in game one of the series.

But the World Champion Australians steadied and managed to click their running game into gear to head to the first change leading 19-15.

The second quarter saw the Opals offence stall somewhat and the Russians took the opportunity to capitalise, outscoring their opponents 16-10 to head to the major change leading by a solitary basket, 31-29.

Defence was the theme of Coach Jan Stirling's half-time talk and the message hit home, with the Opals restricting the Russian team to just six points for the quarter and slamming on 18 to set up the series clinching win.

It was another solid team performance from the Australians, with all players logging double digit minutes and making solid contributions in the victory.

Despite a tough shooting night, Suzy Batkovic led the winners with 13 points and grabbed six boards, with Rohanee Cox contributing 11, which included some now common-place athletic plays in the open court by the Townsville Fire forward.

For the Russians, Maria Kuzina and Marina Karpunina scored 12 points each, with Kurzina adding eight rebounds to round out a solid performance.

Australian coach Jan Stirling was pleased with the purpose with which her charges played the game.

"Our team defence was very good tonight and the team continues to work together at both ends of the floor," she said.

"The two games have provided us with important competition and challenges and the players continue to respond to those challenges"

The final game of the series will be played in Brunico at 6.30pm local time Tuesday.

Quarter by quarter:
1. AUS 19 RUS 15
H: RUS 31 AUS 29 (16-10)
3: AUS 47  RUS 37 (18-6)
F: AUS 68 RUS 51 (21-14)

Suzy Batkovic 13, Rohanee Cox 11 bt
RUSSIA 51 – Maria Kuzina 12, Marina Karpunina 12

For more information please contact:
Bill Baxter
Basketball Australia
T: 02 9469 7218
M: 0423 378 644
E: bill.baxter@basketball.net.au