Gems take first place in Shuozhou Tournament

Gems take first place in Shuozhou Tournament

The Gems had much to celebrate in the Shuozhou tournament today. In the first game of the day they played Czech Republic in a match they had to win if there were to take first place in the tournament.

From the first tip-of the Gems meant business. They were clearly on a mission to account for their performance against the USA the night before.

Excellent offensive execution was accompanied by solid defense. Rebecca Cole and Kerryn Harrington regularly found Gretel Tippett and Tayla Roberts inside, and they didn’t disappoint with some excellent finishing.  

While Czech guard Lenka Bartakova and forward Kamila Stepanova were determined to provide some resistance, they were unable to stem the tide as the Gems extended a seven point quarter time lead to 47-29 scoreline by half time.

“It was great to see the girls bounce back in this game” said Gems Coach Cheryl Chambers. “While our second half performance shows we still have work to do to ensure great consistency, our opening to this game shows what this team is capable of.”

Gems' top performers: Tayla Roberts: 22pts, Gretel Tippett: 14pts, Sara Blicavs: 12pts, Carley Mijovic 8pts

In the final game of the tournament USA clashed with home team China. With the stadium filled to capacity, the vocal Chinese fans carried their team over the line for a four point victory, that also ensured tournament victory to the Gems — China, USA and Gems tied with each having 2-1 win/loss records. The Gems took first place with a superior score average.

The tournament concluded with the presentation of trophies and a cultural presentation by the Shuozhou community. The teams were entertained by some wonderful singing, athletic dancing and music played on traditional Chinese instruments.

The four teams now head south to their final destination Ya’an in the province of Sichuan.