Gutsy Jayco Opals into Bronze Medal clash against Turkey

Gutsy Jayco Opals into Bronze Medal clash against Turkey

The Jayco Australian Opals will face host nation Turkey in the Bronze Medal Game of the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women after going down to the USA in their Semi Final 82-70 this morning.

In a courageous performance from the Jayco Opals, they threw everything at the USA, cutting the lead from 16 points to just six early in the final quarter.

However, the star-studded USA outfit steadied to claim victory, setting the Australians up with a mouth-watering Bronze Medal playoff against Turkey in front of what is sure to be a raucous home crowd.

Watch the Jayco Australian Opals take on Turkey in the Bronze Medal Game LIVE and IN FULL on ABC2 TONIGHT at 2:50am AEDT – check your local guides for broadcast information.

Jayco Australian Opals Head Coach Brendan Joyce spoke glowingly about the efforts of his players, but lamented a drop in the defensive pressure.

“I’m very proud of my team, I’m very proud of the players and the way they played tonight,” Joyce said.

“They just stuck at the task and I think the 12-point margin is quite positive.

“We pride ourselves on defence and even against that calibre of team 82 points is too much to give up to try and win – and get to that Gold Medal Game.”

Leading from the front again was star guard Erin Phillips, posting a game-high 19 points to go with three rebounds and two assists, lifting her tournament averages to 9.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

After playing arguably her best game for the Jayco Opals, Marianna Tolo was again brilliant against the star quality of the USA frontcourt, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in a game-high 32 minutes.

Eager to stop the USA from establishing an early lead it was Penny Taylor (eight points, six rebounds and four assists) and Tolo who would set the tone for the Australians.

The teams would exchange baskets early before a 7-3 run gave the Jayco Opals a 14-11 lead in the shadows of quarter time. The heavily-favoured USA would rally to hold a 19-17 advantage at the end of the first period.

Defensive pressure had become a signature of the Jayco Opals play in Turkey and continued to cause problems for their opponents, forcing the USA into 11 first-half turnovers.

This had the Australians well poised, trailing 24-22 midway through the second quarter before the USA broke the shackles, going on a 14-4 run to close out the half and establish a double-digit lead.

Leilani Mitchell was the lighter fluid that sparked the Jayco Opals after the restart, with the WNBL All-Star Five guard dropping three triples for the quarter as the lead was cut to as few as six points.

As the USA tried to wrestle back momentum, it was again Phillips who had the Australians on the attack, dropping a monster three-pointer to start the final quarter.

The six-point margin would be the closest the Jayco Opals would get as the USA went on an 11-0 run midway through the quarter to grow their lead to as many as 18 points.

As they have all tournament, the Australians dug in their heels and would cut the deficit to just 12 points at the final buzzer.

The focus now turns to Turkey for the Jayco Opals and a chance to win their third FIBA World Championship for Women bronze medal (1998 and 2002).

Next up for the Jayco Australian Opals is Bronze Medal Game against tournament host, Turkey LIVE and IN FULL on ABC2 TONIGHT at 2:50am AEDT - check your local guides for broadcast information.

Basketball fans can watch the Gold Medal Game between Team USA and Spain LIVE on ABC TV at 5:05am AEDT in the early hours of Monday morning.

Boxscore and Group Standingsand Player Statistics

Jayco Opals Team 70-82 USA
Q1: 16-19
Q2: 30-42
Q3: 52-61
Q4: 70-82

FIBA World Championship for Women Bronze Medal Fixture

Jayco Australian Opals v Turkey
Monday 6 October @ Fenerbache Arena, Istanbul 3:00am AEDT
TV: LIVE on ABC2 Nationally 2:50am (VIC, NSW, ACT, TAS) 2:20am (SA) 1:50am (QLD) 1:20am (NT) 11:50pm (WA) (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

SF: Jayco Australian Opals 70-82 Team USA

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.