Gliders close tour with win over USA

Gliders close tour with win over USA

The Australian Gliders have completed their tour of Canada and the USA with a closeout victory over the USA in the final game of the 2014 Lakeshore Cup in Alabama.

Bringing an end to their 12-day tour that took in a total of 12 games, the Gliders played the USA three times in two days, producing a winning performance in the final outing of the three-team competition.

Playing double-headers, the Gliders were soundly beaten in Friday’s morning fixture 55-36, with the hosts racing to an 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 34-12 lead at half time. The visitors managed to outscore their opponents after the main break but could not challenge for the victory.

This was quickly avenged as the Gliders produced down the stretch to defeat the USA to end the Lakeshore Cup on a winning note 62-57, with Amber Merritt (21 points) and Cobi Crispin (returning from injury to score 14 points) leading the team to victory.

Gliders Head Coach Tom Kyle said the performance of his team to rebound from the earlier loss showed the character of his players.

“It was pleasing that when the game was on the line we made our free throws down the stretch, hitting 80% in the final three minutes of the game, which secured the win,” Kyle said.

“From the team’s perspective it was a good way to end the tour, as it proved to the girls that if we shoot with confidence and improve our percentages good things will happen.”

The victory ensured the Gliders would finish the Lakeshore Cup with a 3-3 record after two earlier wins over Japan.

On Thursday the Gliders easily accounted for Japan 56-33 courtesy of a dominant first half display that saw them concede just 16 points. A 14-6 quarter time lead set the tone for game, with Merritt (13 points) and Crispin (12 points) leading the scoring charge.

Kyle said the performance exemplified the quality of his team when they are able to play at their best.

“The win over Japan shows what we are capable of when we make the right decisions – when the girls are relaxed and calm their defence is unstoppable,” Kyle said.

In the second of the double-header against the USA, the Gliders suffered a 65-45 loss. Merritt would again lead the scoring charts for the visitors, with 14 points.