Jayco Opals continue top form with big win over NZ

Jayco Opals continue top form with big win over NZ

The Jayco Australian Opals have continued their scintillating form in the latter stages of the Four-Nations China tour, accounting for their Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand with a big 82-53 win overnight.

Elyse Penaluna continued her top form, finishing with 14 points which was best for the Aussies, while rising star Tess Madgen, who has grown in confidence over the course of the trip, dropped 13 points for the contest. Cayla Francis also finished with 13 points.

New Zealand were coming off a big one-point win over China the day before, and the Opals knew that they would need to be aggressive out of the blocks. They played out the first term with a genuine sense of urgency and it showed on the scoreboard.

Both teams came out physical, with New Zealand working to establish themselves in the paint. But the likes of Abby Bishop kept Australia strong under the basket, the Jayco Opals taking a 29-14 lead at the first break.

The second term was in stark contrast. The points dried up for the Opals momentarily, as the Tall Ferns gained on the Australians to draw within three points at the half. Jillian Harmon was impressive offensively to get New Zealand going — she would top score for the game with 17 points.

The Jayco Opals came out of the change rooms with a renewed sense of vigour and set the precedent in the second half, dominating New Zealand in the third term, pushing the lead swiftly back out to 13 points.

Tess Madgen was excellent, slashing to the basket and providing a genuine offensive spark.

In the final term, the pressure of the Jayco Opals defense finally broke the Tall Ferns as the Aussies broke away to a big 29-point win.

The Opals were better from the field, shooting an impressive 49 per cent from the floor, to New Zealand’s 34 per cent. They also dominated the glass, reeling in 53 rebounds to 26, with Bishop claiming 12 boards, while Marianna Tolo and Hanna Zavecz both grabbed seven each.

The Opals now face China in their final match-up of the tour later today.

Jayco Australian Opals 82
(Penaluna 14, Madgen 13, Francis 13) defeated New Zealand Tall Ferns 53 (Harmon 17, Taylor 14, Cocks 13)

1st Quarter: 29-14

2nd Quarter: 7-19

3rd Quarter: 20-10

4th Quarter: 26-10