Slow start dooms Opals in Paris

Slow start dooms Opals in Paris

Australia's women's basketball team, the Opals, lost to France 80-60 this morning in the final game of the Euroessonne Tournament in Paris.

Dogged by another slow start, the Opals trailed by thirteen points at the first break and never bridged the gap against their stronger and faster opponent.

Canberra Capitals forward Abby Bishop led Australia with 13 points and 7 rebounds while Deanna Smith and Kathleen McLeod added 8 points each.

France’s Sandrine Gruda was the game’s high scorer with 16 points and was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Opals Head Coach Carrie Graf said her team’s 39-38 rebounding victory was a positive, as it was throughout the Opals’ overseas tour, but her team was left ruing another slow start.

“It was a great challenge put to us by the French and next time we need to respond quicker,” Graf said.

After four wins from eight games on tour, the Opals depart for Australia tonight.

Quarter by quarter:
1. FRA 23 AUS 10
H. FRA 45 AUS 29 (22-19)
3. FRA 63 AUS 46 (18-17)
F. FRA 80 AUS 60 (17-14)


FRANCE 80
(Sandrine Gruda 16) bt
AUSTRALIA 60
(Abby Bishop 13, Deanna Smith 8, Kathleen McLeod 8)
at the Arenes de l’Agora in Evry, Paris
Australia finishes 2nd.

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OPALS EARN COMEBACK VICTORY OVER HUNGARY

Australia's women's basketball team, the Opals, won their second game of the Euroessonne Tournament in Paris this morning after narrowly defeating Hungary 84-80.

Down 26-10 after one quarter and 42-37 at half time, the Opals turned around the match with a 21-9 third quarter fight back to set up a thrilling final quarter.

Marianna Tolo top scored for Australia with a game high 19 points and received good support from Abby Bishop and Jenna O’Hea who added 11 and 10 points respectively.

But it was Canberra Capitals point guard Natalie Hurst who came through in the clutch, converting 9-of-10 free throws in the final minutes to secure victory for Australia on her first tour with the Opals.

Anna Vida had 16 points to lead Hungary, who could not contain Australia on the boards and lost the rebound tally 22-43.

The Opals will play France tomorrow morning Australian time to decide the winner of the round robin tournament.

Australia will need to curb their excessive turnover rate to secure victory, with a 28-16 count against them nearly costing them the game against Hungary this morning.

Quarter by quarter:
1. HUN 26 AUS 10
H. HUN 42 AUS 37 (16-27)
3. AUS 58 HUN 51 (21-9)
F. AUS 84 HUN 80 (26-29)

AUSTRALIA 84 (M Tolo 19, A Bishop 11, J O’Hea 10) bt
HUNGARY 80 (A Vida 16, B Nemeth 12, K Honti 11)
at the Arenes de l’Agora in Evry, Paris


Game 1:

OPALS OVERCOME CZECH REPUBLIC

Australia's women's basketball team, the Opals, won the opening game of the Euroessonne Tournament in Paris this morning after narrowly defeating the Czech Republic 82-79.

The Opals recovered from a slow start to claim the win after a 24-15 third quarter.

Beijing Olympian Hollie Grima top-scored with 26 points while Eva Viteckova led the Czech Republic with 24.

The Czech team rattled the Opals with their fast and physical game in the first quarter and Australians were facing a nine point deficit at the first break.

The Opals came out firing in the third quarter led by Grima and took the lead for the first time in the game after putting pressure on the Czechs.

The Australians held on in the final term to take the three-point win.

Opals Head Coach Carrie Graf was pleased the team was able to fight back in the second half with high energy defence.

“It was a great performance by the Opals to come out with a win,” Graf said.

“They showed excellent intensity and focus and gritty determination to turn the game around.”

The Opals play Hungary Sunday morning AET before facing host nation France late on Sunday night.

Australia 82 (H Grima 26, D Smith 13, A Bishop 10) bt
Czech Republic 79 (E Viteckova 24, P Koulichova 18, K Elhotova 7)
At the Arenes de l’Agora in Evry, Paris

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