Turkey pip Jayco Opals in overtime

Turkey pip Jayco Opals in overtime

Turkey has claimed an overtime win over the Jayco Australian Opals 84-80 in a thrilling final game of the TBF Zafer Cup in Istanbul, Turkey overnight.

In the final game of the Jayco Opals six-game European tour, Leilani Mitchell sent the contest to an extra period after dropping a monster corner three-pointer in the final minute of regulation to tie the scores at 70-70.

The Sydney Uni Flames guard would make two further shots from beyond the arc in overtime, but could not stop the hosts from prevailing by four points – seeing the Australians finish the tour with a 4-2 record.

Rachel Jarry had one of her most productive games in the green and gold, posting an international career-high of 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go with 6 rebounds, while Laura Hodges was at her efficient best for 15 points on 6-of-9 from the field.

It was another impactful performance from Marianna Tolo, with the French-based centre finishing with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, while Mitchell had 14 points on 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Jayco Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce said the experience of playing a team of the calibre of Turkey on their home floor will benefit the team.

“This was a great experience for the team to play in this environment and I could not fault their effort,” Joyce said.

“A couple of time we let ourselves down on the defensive end and we got punish by a good team with players that executed well.

“This was a good lesson for the players that you have to be consistent on the defensive end if you want to be successful at world championship level basketball.”

Joyce praised the performance of Jarry, who after a serious knee injury looks to be returning to her best at the right time.

“She’s back,” Joyce said.

“We have certain expectation that regardless of what happens on offense, we all play defence – and that was the most pleasing aspect of Rachel’s game tonight.

“Not only did she shoot the ball tremendously well, but were attitude and effort on the defensive side of the ball was there for every second she was on the floor.”

Jarry was again the spark plug for the Jayco Opals in the opening quarter, posting 11 points – including back-to-back three-pointers, finding support in Tolo off bench (7 points and 4 rebounds) as the visitors led 23-17.

The Australian lead was cut to just two points early in the second quarter before a 10-3 pushed the lead back near double digits in the shadows of half time. Turkey rallied late to trail 39-34 at the main interval.

This momentum continued in the second half as the home crowd got right behind Turkey as they took the lead midway through the third quarter before the visitors showed grit and determination to rally.

An 11-0 run helped restore the lead and take it to double digits, holding a 58-47 advantage heading into the final quarter. This lead would quickly come under threat as Turkey ramped up their defensive pressure.

The hosts would take the lead with 2:35 left in regulation and looked set to hold on to it before Mitchell was found wide-open on an inbound play and made the Turkish team pay for the defensive breakdown.

Overtime started brightly with Mitchell adding two further three-pointers as the points flowed for both teams, but it was Turkey who would outgun the Australians and take a hard-fought four-point victory.

Jayco Australia Opals 80-84 Turkey  
1Q: 23-17
2Q: 39-34
3Q: 58-47
4Q: 70-70
OT: 80-84

Stats Leaders: Jarry 23pts, 6rebs; Hodges 15pts, 3rebs, 4asts; Mitchell 14pts; Tolo 11pts, 5rebs, 3asts; Lavey 5pts, 4asts; Allen 4pts; Burton 4pts; Cambage 2pts, 3asts; Madgen 2pts, 6rebs.


Jayco Australian Opals Team – Tour of Europe

Rebecca Allen – Melbourne Boomers

Natalie Burton – Melbourne Boomers

Elizabeth Cambage – Dandenong Rangers

Laura Hodges – Adelaide Lightning

Natalie Hurst - Canberra Capitals/Canik BLD (Turkey)

Rachel Jarry – Melbourne Boomers

Tessa Lavey – Bendigo Spirit

Tess Madgen – Melbourne Boomers

Leilani Mitchell – Sydney Uni Flames

Gabrielle Richards – Bendigo Spirit

Belinda Snell – Bendigo Spirit

Marianna Tolo – Bourges (France)