Women's uni team go down to USA, play Sweden for bronze

Women's uni team go down to USA, play Sweden for bronze

The Australian University Women’s basketball team are preparing for a bronze medal showdown with Sweden tomorrow night at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China.

Australia met Sweden earlier in the tournament, and managed to beat them by 13 points, with Abby Bishop (14 points) and Elyse Penaluna (14 points) doing much of the damage.

But a week can be a long time in a basketball tournament, and Sweden has put together an impressive series of results following their loss to Australia, beating Czech Republic, Japan and Russia, only to be bundled out of gold medal contention in their semi final to Taiwan in overtime last night.

Taiwan has not dropped a game the whole tournament, and they now face the USA, who put Australia out of the gold medal race overnight in another tough semi final battle by 12 points, 79-67.

The game between the rival nations was a physical affair from the opening tip, with the Americans unable to pull away, the Aussies continually closing.

USA got out to an eight-point lead in the first, before Australia pulled it back to one point thanks to the efforts of Cayla Francis, Nicole Hunt and Katie-Rae Ebzery, the Americans taking a three-point lead at the first break.

The second quarter saw both teams trading blows, with USA edging out to a six-point lead heading into the change rooms.

In the third period, USA took a double-digit lead for the first time in the game, as American big Elena Delle Donne started to exert her influence on the contest.

USA got out to as many as 13 in front before the Aussies rallied again, pegging the game back to within seven at three-quarter time, setting up for an exciting fourth-quarter showdown.

Despite a valiant effort, the Americans pushed the lead back out to the mid teens in the fourth again, this time keeping the Aussies at bay, holding on to clinch the 12-point win and a shot at a gold medal.Playmaker Nicole Hunt top scored for the Aussies, dropping 18 points while Cayla Francis had 15 points and 14 rebounds in another impressive performance by the Aussie tall.

For the Americans, Elena Delle Donne finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Skylar Diggins finished with 17 points for the game.

Australia battles Sweden tomorrow night at 9.00pm AEST in a bid to bring home a bronze medal.

Australia 67 (Hunt 18, Francis 15) def by USA 79 (Delle Donne 22, Diggins 17)

Box Score