It was the perfect start for the Gliders – the Australian women’s wheelchair basketball team – producing a dominant display to crush Japan 64-28 in Bangkok. Western Australian Amber Merritt led all scorers for the Gliders with 14 points, while Bridie Kean also impressed with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
After a high-scoring first quarter had the Gliders leading 18-10, the Tom Kyle-coached team put the clamps on the Japanese players, restricting them to just 18 points for the remaining three quarters in a performance that will have impressed the new coach in his first competitive game in charge.
The win was made all the more impressive after Paralympian Shelley Chaplin was a late withdrawal through injury. The Gliders face hosts Thailand today.
A brilliant second-half performance from the Rollers ensured it would be a winning day for Australia, claiming a tournament opening win over South Korea 64-36. In a free-scoring start to the game, it was the Rollers who got the early edge to lead at the main break 31-21 despite the best efforts of their physical opponents.
The game slowed in the second half as defensive pressure took centre stage, with the Rollers showing their elite level defensive skills to hold the Koreans to just 15 points after the main interval.
Tristan Knowles scored a game-high 16 points for the Rollers, with Shaun Norris providing a quick-fire 13 points in just 16 minutes on court. Bill Latham was also impressive, adding 6 steals to his seven points on the night. Next up the Rollers face Kuwait.