In a dominant display from the Opals, captain Penny Taylor led the way with a game-high 20 points (to go with four rebounds and four assists), finding support in Rachel Jarry (13 points and six rebounds), Belinda Snell (11 points and six rebounds) and Cayla Francis (11 points and three rebounds).
Jayco Australian Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce praised the defensive efforts of his players to set up such a strong win to start their World Championship campaign.
“Cuba are better than that performance, but the reason they didn’t play that well was because of the commitment of our players on the defensive end,” Joyce said.
“I was really proud of the way the girls played and to get that first win of the tournament is just so important.”
Joyce believes it was the efforts of his captain Penny Taylor which set the standard for the game.
“Penny let the way straight off the bat, with her aggressiveness and assertiveness in those opening minutes, and that rubbed off on the rest of the team,” Joyce said.
It was a strong defensively display from the Jayco Opals, with the team restricting their opposition just six points in the first quarter and seven points in the third quarter to establish an unassailable lead.
Jayco Opals fans saw a vintage performance from Penny Taylor, setting the tempo for what would be a one-sided affair.
Taylor found support in the form of Snell, Jarry and Leilani Mitchell (who had a game-high eight assists) as the Jayco Opals started their tournament with a convincing victory.
The Jayco Opals would burst out of the blocks and quickly establish a double-digit lead that would be the foundation of what would become a 33-point victory.
A high-scoring second quarter saw both teams go basket for basket, with the Jayco Opals still holding a strong advantage that would increase significantly after the main break.
The 14-point lead at half time would grow to 30 points on the back of a brilliant third quarter display that saw the Australians outscore Cuba 23-7.
Joyce was able to get early tournament minutes into his bench, with 11 of the 12 players getting more than 10 minutes court time.
Next up for the Jayco Australian Opals is a group stage clash with Korea TONIGHT at 9:10pm AEST LIVE and IN FULL on ABC2.
Jayco Opals 90-57 Cuba
Jayco Australian Opals FIBA World Championship for Women – Group Stage TV Schedule
Jayco Australian Opals 90-57 Cuba
Jayco Australian Opals v Korea
Sunday 28 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 9:15pm
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally 9:10pm (Vic, NSW, Qld, Tas, ACT); 8:40pm (SA, NT); 7:10pm (WA)
Jayco Australian Opals v Belarus
Tuesday 30 September @ City Arena, Istanbul 11:30pm
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally 11:25pm (Vic, NSW, Qld, Tas, ACT); 10:55pm (SA, NT); 9:25pm (WA)
Jayco Australian Opals Team – 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women
Rebecca Allen – Melbourne Boomers
Natalie Burton – Melbourne Boomers
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)
Gabrielle Richards – Bendigo Spirit
Belinda Snell – Bendigo Spirit
Penny Taylor – Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
Marianna Tolo – Bourges (France)
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.