Gallant Jayco Opals go down to USA in Paris

Gallant Jayco Opals go down to USA in Paris

The Jayco Australian Opals have opened the final phase of their FIBA World Championship for Women preparation with a gallant 72-66 loss to Team USA in Paris overnight.

In a bright opening, the Jayco Opals established a seven point lead early before Team USA worked their way back into the ascendency before half time.

This lead would extend beyond 10 points in the third quarter before a late Australian rally ensured the final score would reflect the closeness of the contest.

Star veteran duo Belinda Snell (13 points and five rebounds) and Laura Hodges (10 points) led the way for the Jayco Opals after an injury forced centre Liz Cambage off early in the second quarter.

Rachel Jarry continued her form from the August tour of Europe, finishing with eight points and nine rebounds, while Natalie Burton (three points, six rebounds and three assists) and Marianna Tolo (eight points and three rebounds).

Fresh from their WNBA Championship triumph with the Phoenix Mercury, Erin Phillips and Penny Taylor worked their way back into the rotation, with Taylor (five points and three assists) playing 14 minutes as a starter and Phillips (four points, four rebounds and four assists) coming off the bench to play 21 minutes.

In a rare out of competition meeting between the two powerhouses of women’s basketball, it was a typically tight opening stanza before the Australians would go on a 10-2 run to close out the first quarter.

The USA would waste no time chipping away at the Jayco Opals lead, going into half time holding a one-point advantage at 28-27. Both teams shot the ball at under 30% in the first half, with points at a premium.

The arm wrestle continued after the main break before Team USA managed to extend the lead to double digits for the first time in the contest, closing out the third quarter on an 11-2 run to hold a 52-41 advantage heading into the final period.

In need of an offensive injection, the Opals looked to Snell and Hodges in the final minutes, with the pair calling on their 10 combined major tournaments of experience to score 14 of the team’s 25 points for the quarter.

This would help reduce the final margin to just six points and give the team a major confidence boost should they face the defending World Champions in Turkey.

Next up for the Jayco Opals is a clash with tournament hosts France TONIGHT at 2:30am AEST.

Boxscore

Jayco Australian Opals 66-72 Team USA
Q1: 18-11
Q2: 27-28
Q3: 41-52
Q4: 66-72

The Jayco Opals open their 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Istanbul against Cuba on Saturday night 27 September at 9:15pm AEST.

Based in the Istanbul, the Jayco Opals will also face Korea and Belarus in their Group C fixtures leading into the knockout rounds and eventually the tournament final in the early hours of Monday 6 October.

CLICK HERE to see the full schedule for the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women.

Fans won’t miss a minute of the action from Turkey with all Jayco Australian Opals games to be broadcast LIVE and in full on ABC2 as part of their extensive 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women coverage.

The 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women will be held in Turkey from 28 September to 6 October.

Jayco Australian Opals pre-FIBA World Championship for Women 

Paris Tournament

Jayco Australian Opals 66-72 USA

Jayco Australian Opals v France
Sunday 21 September @ Stade Pierre De Coubertin, Paris 2:30am (All times AEST)

Jayco Australian Opals v China
Sunday 21 September @ Stade Pierre De Coubertin, Paris 10:30pm

Jayco Australian Opals FIBA World Championship for Women – Group Stage Fixture

Jayco Australian Opals v Cuba
Saturday 27 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 9:15pm (All times AEST)
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally

Jayco Australian Opals v Korea
Sunday 28 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 9:15pm
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally

Jayco Australian Opals v Belarus
Tuesday 30 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 11:30pm
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally

Jayco Australian Opals Team – 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women

Rebecca Allen – Melbourne Boomers
Natalie Burton – Melbourne Boomers
Elizabeth Cambage – Dandenong Rangers
Cayla Francis – Townsville Fire
Laura Hodges – Adelaide Lightning
Rachel Jarry – Melbourne Boomers
Tessa Lavey – Bendigo Spirit
Leilani Mitchell – Sydney Uni Flames
Erin Phillips – Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
Belinda Snell – Bendigo Spirit
Penny Taylor – Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
Marianna Tolo – Bourges (France)

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Brendan Joyce
Assistant Coaches: Damian Cotter and Lori Chizik
Technical Assistant Coach: Scott Butler

For all the latest on the Jayco Opals ahead of their journey to Turkey be sure to visit the BA website at www.basketball.net.au.