Gems Win Bronze Medal in tight game against Spain

Gems Win Bronze Medal in tight game against Spain

The Jayco Australian Gems have withstood a comeback from Spain to win 69-62 and earn third place at the FIBA U19 World Championships, their second consecutive bronze medal at the tournament.

Coming off a Semi-Final loss to Russia, the Gems' intent was obvious from the outset as they jumped out to an 11-2 lead.

Their advantage under the rim was exemplified by 12 straight Australian points from Alanna Smith, helping the Gems to a 16-point lead by quarter-time.

Spain found their range in the second term and slowly reduced the deficit, winning the quarter 20-14 before cutting the margin to three mid-way through the third quarter.

Tahlia Tupaea was able to knock down a three-pointer in response before Montana Farrah-Seaton's only basket of the game handed Australia a nine-point buffer going into the final period.

Spain would again challenge, drawing within four points with 1:30 remaining but Smith's superb game was capped by a two-pointer before Tupaea iced the match from the free-throw line.

Dominating all game, Smith finished with 20 points on 8-16 shooting, 16 rebounds (five offensive) and five blocks. That performance helped her earn a spot in the Women's World Championship All-Star Five, finishing with an average of 12.6 points, seven boards and 2.7 blocks.

Alanna Smith

Alanna Smith (third from left) with her All-Star Five selection award.

 

She was ably assisted in the bronze medal playoff by Alex Sharp, who also recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, Kristy Wallace (nine and nine) and Tupaea (12 points, four assists and four steals).

Leading for the entire match, the Gems still gave up 16 points off 20 turnovers but owned the boards with 19 more total rebounds while doubling the Spanish team in offensive rebounds (22-11).

Box scores from the game can be found here.

Finishing the tournament in third place, Australia lost just one game and had an average winning margin of 36 points. Equaling their bronze medal effort from 2013, the result continues a long history of success at the FIBA U19 World Championship after winning gold in 1993, silver in 1997 and another bronze in 1989.

Watch the replay of Australia v Spain at livebasketball.tv.