It was a tough second match of the 2009 Deaflympics for the Australia’s Deaf Women’s team, the Geckos, losing to Lithuania 110 – 33 in Taipei yesterday.
The Lithuanian team was very athletic and strong, and made the most of the height of 40 year old veteran Danute Sereliene inside the key. The Geckos lifted their level of play from their previous match against Hong Kong. The first 4 minutes of the match saw both teams trading baskets in an even contest, but then the speed of the Lithuanians took them to a 34-9 quarter time lead.
In the second quarter the Aussies again matched it early with the Lithuanians. The geckos played very tough defence with Vice Captain Renee Kahle putting her body on the line and drawing several charging fouls. Turnovers in the last 3 minutes of the half allowed Lithuania to score a lot of fast breaks, taking them out to a 59-15 half time lead.
The second half saw the Aussies continue to fight with Alicia Finch rebounding well inside against her much taller opponents. The athleticism and strength of the Lithuanian team was very tough for the Australian team to manage and Lithuania ran out winners 110-33.
After the match Geckos’ Coach Janelle Bressow said, “although we were outplayed by a more experienced Lithuanian team today, the Geckos showed some periods of great basketball. They also demonstrated their great Aussie character and fought hard all the way to the end”.
Lithuania had six players score in double figures, while Australian scoring was lead by Nicola Taschke will 11 points and Ashleigh Bransden with 10.
Australia will meet the silver medallists from the Melbourne 2005 Deaflympics, Sweden, in their next match at 3pm local time Wednesday.
Nicola Taschke, captain of the Geckos, was named as the Team Captain for the Australian Deaflympic Team at the team photo session in Taipei.
This is a great honour bestowed upon the veteran Geckos captain, who played in the 2005 Deaflympics in Melbourne as well as the 2007 World Championships in China.
The annopuncement was met with great applause from all AUS team members and the popular basketball player was humbled by the decision. It was mentioned that Nicola's great communication skills in Auslan, International sign and spoken language as well as her well known support for AUS members of all sports helped the decision greatly.
DBA congratulates Nic Taschke on her appointment and is proud to have her represent the entire AUS team.
Australia 33 (Nicola Taschke 11, Ashleigh Bransden 10, Natasha Gray 4) defeated by
Lithuania 110 (Justina Burbaite 18, Gabriele Valaityte 15, Jurgita Navickaite 13)
A challenging game that required strong preparation. At a morning training session, following the coach’s instructions, the Geckos focused on improving shooting at game speed. After this training sessions we jumped in the pool for recovery to ensure all players continued to move and prepare for the afternoon match.
The Geckos lost 110 to 33 against Lithuania. While we were defeated by this consistently strong team, we managed to perform well throughout all 4 quarters. Some sloppy passes created a few turn overs, however our defensive pressure caused our opposition to do the same. We ran the floor well and never gave up. We kept our heads high and played the game to the end.
By Renee Kahle #10 and Tasha Gray #11
Photo courtesy of Scott Chesterton