Gems to battle Spain for Bronze after falling to USA in semis

Gems to battle Spain for Bronze after falling to USA in semis

The Australian Gems U19 women’s basketball team is preparing for a Bronze Medal showdown with Spain at the 2013 U19 Women’s World Championship of Basketball in Lithuania in the early hours of Monday morning (AEST), after going down to the USA 77-54 in the Semi Finals over night.

Only two players registered double-digit points across the entire game for both sides. One of those players was Gems rising star Stephanie Talbot, who finished with 11 points shooting 57 per cent from the floor, while also reeling in 6 rebounds.

Unfortunately for the Aussies, the other player to finish in double figures was American Breanna Stewart, who top-scored for the game with 23 points, snatched 8 rebounds, but most notably, delivered 14 points in just four minutes of action in the second term to see the USA break free from the Gems and build a lead that would ultimately deliver them the victory.

The first quarter was encouraging for the Aussies. They hung tight with the USA for much of the quarter, trading baskets before a pair of Tupaea free throws gave the Gems a slender 14-11 lead at the first break.

With just under 6 minutes to play in the second period, the Gems were looking strong, clinging on to their three-point lead 20-17 and looking towards a tight-fought remainder of the contest. But things get horrific for the Aussies — they wouldn’t score again for the half, while watching the Americans pile on 21 points at the other end of the floor to take an 18 point lead into the half-time break. 

It was a master-class from young Stewart, whose 14 points in the four minutes of action came from inside, outside and the foul line, with the Aussies unable to find a quick answer for the sudden barrage. 

In typical Aussie fashion, the Gems battled on and worked hard to bridge the gap in the second half, with Talbot and Alex Wilson doing work at both ends. But they weren’t able to make any appreciable inroads into the USA lead, ultimately succumbing to the 23-point loss.

Their opponent for the Bronze Medal showdown, Spain, a team they have met this tournament already, went down to France in a four-point nail-biter overnight.

Spain was too strong for the Gems in their previous encounter, running away with the win by 18 points.

The Gems will need to stem the impact of Astou Ndour who had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots against the Aussies, along with Belen Arrojo, who was equally impressive with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Perhaps most importantly, the Gems will need to combine a full four-quarter performance to bring home the Bronze, having led the Spaniards at both the quarter-time and half-time breaks in their previous match-up. Should they deliver their best performance across the length of the contest, they will be well-placed to seal victory.

The Australian Gems versus Spain Bronze Medal match-up tips off at 1.00am Monday morning AEST. Follow the results at www.lithuania2013.fiba.com

Australian Gems 54 (Talbot 11, Wilson 9, Panousis 7, Mijovic 7) defeated by USA 77 (Stewart 23, Tuck 9)

Box Score