Gems suffer first defeat of U19 World Champs, against Spain

Gems suffer first defeat of U19 World Champs, against Spain

The Australian Gems U19 Women’s basketball team suffered their first loss of the FIBA U19 Women’s World Championship overnight, going down to Spain 81-63, in their final preliminary round match-up.

In what was a battle of Group B’s two undefeated teams, Spain overcame an early double-digit deficit to claim victory, led by a combined 46 points and 20 rebounds from two players.

Astou Ndour led the Spaniards with 24 points (on 75 per cent field goal accuracy), 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, while Belen Arrojo was just as impressive with 22 points (on 61.5 per cent shooting), 10 rebounds, 3 blocks.

Leticia Romero Gonzalez also caused the Aussies headaches, finishing with 13 points and 6 steals.

Casey Samuels top-scored for Australia with 16 points, to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists, while Alex Wilson (14 points) and Carley Mijovic (13 points) also contributed solidly on the offensive end.

Stephanie Talbot, coming off a rare triple-double performance in the previous game against Japan, was held to just 6 points, but pulled down a team-high 8 rebounds.

It was the Gems who began the game the stronger, controlling the first quarter of action, and building a ten-point lead (18-8) on an Alex Wilson basket, before eventually taking a 20-12 advantage into the first break.

The second term was an offensive affair, with 49 combined points from the two teams as Spain battled furiously to get back in the contest. Consecutive baskets from Darcee Garbin mid-way through the term helped slow the charging Spaniards, but they were not to be denied, levelling scores at 39 apiece, before outscoring Australia 27-22 in the term.

The Gems still held a three-point halftime lead, but the offensive floodgates had opened, as Spain, led by 11 points from Ndour and 8 points from Arrojo, outscored Australia 27-12 in the third term, to take a 12 point lead after three quarters.

With the Australian scoring drying up, the deficit only increased in the final quarter, Spain finishing strongly to claim the 81-63 victory.

The Gems had already secured their place in the next stage of the tournament, the Eighth-Final Round, as one of the 12 teams now split into two groups of six.

Australia join Brazil, Japan, Russia, Serbia and Spain in the newly formed Group E, their first match-up of the next round coming against Russia.

The Australia V Russia match tips off on Monday night at 10:45PM AEST. Follow the game and all the Aussie results at www.lithuania2013.fiba.com

Australian Gems 63 (Samuels 16, Wilson 14, Mijovic 13) defeated by Spain 81 (Ndour 24, Arrojo 22, Romero Gonzalez 13)

Box Score