A fourth quarter fight back was not enough to get Australia’s women’s wheelchair basketball team over the line; the Gliders fell to the Netherlands by just one point, 43-42, in their Paralympic World Cup debut.
Kylie Gauci led the scoring for the Aussies with 11 points, Shelley Chaplin added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds. Netherlands’ Cher Korver led all scorers with 13 points.
The Netherlands scored the opening basket and did enough in the first quarter to forge a narrow 10-8 lead at the first break.
The Gliders went on a 9-4 scoring run to open the second term and got away to a five point lead midway through the quarter. Some missed shots from the Australians allowed the Netherlands to get back within one point before they wrenched back the lead with a Cher Korver 2-pointer.
Facing a 21-25 deficit at halftime the Gliders did not regain the lead for the remainder of the game.
The Aussies held their own in the third term, matching basket for basket and were closing the gap with a 9-6 final quarter, but were still one point short at the final siren.
Australia’s men’s wheelchair basketball team suffered a 39-36 loss to Paralympic rivals Canada in their opening encounter.
Both sides were evenly matched with each in the 30 per cent mark for shooting accuracy from the field but Australia only converted 3-of-11 attempts from the charity stripe to Canada’s 4-of-7. The lead only changed hands four times in the game and Canada at one point dominated with a 10-point gap.
Canada took a one-point lead at the first break but when the Rollers could not connect on their shots in the second term, Canada opened up a seven-point lead, 23-16 at halftime.
In a similar showing to the women’s game, the men’s teams went toe-to-toe in the third quarter, the Rollers still facing a seven-point deficit at the final break. A fourth quarter burst brought the Australians back within three but they missed four shot attempts in the final two minutes; Canada the victors by three points.
Australia’s Dylan Alcott said, “They gave us a good push but we know we can do better. We don’t feel any added pressure coming in here as favourites. It was the same before Beijing but we love to be hunted. We still want to win this tournament.”
The Australian teams are next in action early Saturday morning when the Gliders take on Canada at 2.00am AEST followed by the Rollers clash against Italy from 4.00am AEST. Follow the game with LIVESTATS here.
In other games Canada’s women’s team toppled the hosts Great Britain 56-30 and in the men’s division Great Britain easily accounted for Italy, 57-37.
At a glance:
NETHERLANDS 43 (C Korver 13, C Versloot 12, I Huitzing 8) def
AUSTRALIAN GLIDERS 42 (K Gauci 11, C Crispin 9, S Chaplin 8)
At Regional Arena, Manchester
CANADA 39 (D Durepos 16, A Lancia 9, R Peter 6) def
AUSTRALIAN ROLLERS 36 (B Ness 10, J McPhail 6, J Eveson 5, T Knowles 5)
At Regional Arena, Manchester