Defensive dominance inspires Opals to Semi Finals

Defensive dominance inspires Opals to Semi Finals

The Jayco Australian Opals are headed for the Semi Finals after a brilliant defensive performance to defeat Canada 63-52 in their Quarter Final at the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey overnight.

After missing out on the medal round at the 2010 tournament, the Jayco Opals will face arch-rivals Team USA for the right to play off for the Gold Medal.

Fans can watch every second of the Jayco Opals v Team USA IN FULL on ABC TV Sunday morning at 7:20am AEDT – check your local guides for broadcast information.

It was a defensive display for the ages from the Jayco Opals, restricting the Canadians to just 18 points through the second and third quarters, establishing a 16-point lead heading into the final quarter that would not be threatened.

Jayco Australian Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce praised the efforts of his players against adversity and encouraged them to enjoy the victory.

“It’s an Aussie saying but I’m just so rapt for the players,” Joyce said.

“This team is so tight from a team chemistry point of view. We’ve had some adversity with some of the players not available due to injury, but different players have stepped up.

“The next challenge is ahead of us, but I’m believer in soaking it up because that win was pretty special for us and now we have the opportunity to win a medal.”

Continuing her brilliant form in Turkey, Erin Phillips was again the standout for the Australians, posting a game-high 16 points and setting the defensive tone for the team.

Backcourt partner Leilani Mitchell had a breakout performance, scoring all 10 of her points in the first half to lead the Jayco Opals offensive charge.

Marianna Tolo had her best game in Jayco Opals green and gold, posting a near double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, finding support in fellow frontcourt star Cayla Francis (nine points and five rebounds).

After dominating the opening stanza of their previous three games, the Jayco Opals were on the back foot early as the Canadians started stronger of the two teams.

Phillips, Tolo and Mitchell kick-started the Australian revival, leading to a 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm throughout the game, with the Jayco Opals defensive dominance restricting Canada to just seven points in the second quarter to hold a 12-point lead at the main break.

The lead pushed out beyond 15 points after the restart before Canada mounted a rear guard, going on a 6-0 run to cut the margin to 10 points with four minutes remaining in the quarter.

A 10-2 run to close out the quarter ensured the advantage would remain with Australia as Canada would not close the margin inside double digits in the final period.

Next up for the Jayco Australian Opals is Semi Final action IN FULL on ABC TV on Sunday morning at 7:20am AEDT - check your local guides for broadcast information.

Boxscore and Group Standingsand Player Statistics

Jayco Opals 63-52 Canada
Q1: 19-17
Q2: 36-24
Q3: 51-35
Q4: 63-52

FIBA World Championship for Women Semi Final Fixture

Jayco Australian Opals v Team USA
Sunday 5 October @ Fenerbache Arena, Istanbul 5:15am AEDT
TV: ABC TV Nationally (check your local guides for broadcast times)

FIBA World Championship for Women – Results

G1: Jayco Australian Opals 90-57 Cuba

G2: Jayco Australian Opals 87-54 Korea

G3: Jayco Australian Opals 87-45 Belarus

QF: Jayco Australian Opals 63-52 Canada

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)

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.