Phillin' the Lane: World Championships Preview

Phillin' the Lane: World Championships Preview

The Golden Star Boomers have gone into Lyon, France for their final tune-ups before the World Championships later this week and have been victorious in all three matches.

The Boomers found themselves jet-lagged and in hostile territory for yet another tournament, but battled through to overcome both challenges.

In the first game of the competition Australia battled Brazil to the very end and came away with the 72-69 victory.

In the second game against France, the match came down to the very last shot.

The fourth quarter was filled with multiple lead changes, but neither team could escape the others ferocity and determination.

Down 66-65 with 13 seconds left on the clock, Coach Brett Brown called a time out to set up one last play.

As the clock ticked down Brad Newley dished it to Matt Nielsen in the paint and the whole arena watched as the ball sunk through the net to put Australia up by one, 67-66 with :03 left in the game.

After a timeout of their own, the French put up a long-range desperation three that would’ve won them the game; however, the shot missed and the Boomers celebrated a hard fought victory over the hometown squad.

During these two games, Patty Mills once again rose to the occasion and held this talented Boomers squad together.

Mills has averaged 16.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.0 steals in the two victories.

Having just as an impressive tournament is Joe Ingles who is averaging 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 steals.

David Andersen has solidified the low post for the Boomers and has played spectacular in the tournament averaging 9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks.

Matt Nielsen (7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals), Brad Newley (8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists), and Mark Worthington (5.5 points, 2.5 rebounds) have all played crucial roles in the two Boomer victories as well.

The Boomers knocked over the Ivory Coast convincingly in their third and final game, 80-59, with the tournament proving a great chance to iron out all the kinks before the Worlds tip-off on August 28th.

The Boomers should be feeling very confident as they head into the World Championships.

They have defeated very good teams in these warm-up tournaments. Even more impressive is the fact that, in pretty much every game, Coach Brown has managed to get everyone minutes and truly see what each player is capable of.

He has the advantage of having an incredible amount of depth on his roster and that depth allows for him to mix-and-match his personnel throughout the tournament depending on how a game is playing out.

Australia has no easy task ahead of them in Group Play; four of the five teams they face are ranked in FIBA’s top 15 in the world.

The Boomers (#11 ranked) will open against Jordan (#38) on August 28th and then follow that up with Argentina (#1) on August 29th, Germany (#7) on August 29th, Serbia (#5) on September 1st, and finish with Angola (#12) on September 2nd.

Even though Australia’s competition is tough, I feel they have a very good shot at not only making it out of pool pay but being in one of the top spots on the Group A ladder.

The Aussies may not be full of household names, but they are stacked with talented and internationally experienced young players who other teams may take for granted.

Tournaments like the World Championships cram so many games into consecutive days that not only do you have to be physically strong, but mentally as well.

When your body wants to quit, an athlete’s mind and internal fire is what pushes them through. They use adrenaline and the rush of the crowd to elevate their game to a whole new level.

The pride that goes into wearing your nations colors and waving your countries flag will cause each of these games to be a battle no matter who is playing.

Australia’s Game 2 matchup with Argentina will be a warzone. After getting swept in three games in Australia earlier this summer the Argentineans will be looking for revenge.

They got embarrassed at the hands of the Boomers (average margin of victory was 23 points), and that was without Andersen, Worthington, and Aleks Maric who have all showed they upgrade Australia’s team significantly.

Another match-up filled with emotion will be against Serbia, especially for Maric who holds duel citizenship and played in Serbia last season as part of Partizan Belgrade; but chose to play with Australia.

With Maric joining Andersen and Nielsen down low the Australians have an extremely potent threesome who will be able to have their way in the paint as long as Ingles and Newley are hitting their shots from the outside.

Of course everything hinges on Patty Mills, who is the centerpiece of this Boomers team. If Mills can continue to effectively cut through defenses and allow for scoring lanes to open for his teammates, the Aussies will go far and make a run that may surprise everyone.

WNBA UPDATES

•    Lauren Jackson and the Seattle Storm enter playoffs as the number one overall seed and clinch home-court throughout the entire playoffs. They face the Los Angeles Sparks in the first round starting Thursday @1pm AEDT.

•    Penny Taylor and the Phoenix Mercury finished as the second seed in the West and will face third-seeded San Antonio Silver Stars in the first round starting Friday @11am AEDT.

•    Tully Bevilaqua and the Indiana Fever finished as the third seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the New York Liberty starting Friday @9am AEDT.

*All first round series are best-of-three

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

•    Seattle Storm grab WNBA Record by going a perfect 17-0 at home

•    Jackson, Taylor, Bevilaqua, and Abby Bishop named to Opals World Championship team

•    Boomers beat two Top 15 ranked opponents (Brazil and France) in consecutive days

•    Nathan Jawai signs with Partizan Belgrade in Serbia

WHAT TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEK

•    Boomers tip-off World Championships

•    Four Opals in WNBA Playoffs

Phil Moskowitz