AUSTRALIA BEGIN 3X3 WORLD CHAMPS CAMPAIGN

AUSTRALIA BEGIN 3X3 WORLD CHAMPS CAMPAIGN

The Australian 3x3 women's team have begun their 2016 World Championships campaign, splitting the opening night of competition.

Visit the official 3x3 World Championships page here.

The Australian side, featuring Kelly Bowen, Isabella Brancatisano, Maddison Rocci (the youngest player at the tournament) and Jenni Screen (the only two-time Olympian in attendance) were ranked a lowly 18th coming into the tournament.

However, that ranking was based purely on the side's lack of experience in the 3x3 format which sees teams face off in a half-court outdoor setting.

The first country to score 21 or the leader after ten minutes is declared the winner, with regular field goals counting for one point and shots from beyond the arc counting for two while the shot clock resets to just 12 seconds.

Bowen, Screen and Rocci started on court for Australia in their first match against Andorra, with Bowen setting the tone as she hit the first shot of the game before following that up with a rejection.

Andorra's Claudia Brunet then suffered an ankle injury, rolling it as she tried to defend a Rocci lay-up which halted proceedings for several minutes.

When play resumed, Rocci nailed two consecutive free-throws and Brancatisano hit a lay-up as both players attacked the basket. Bowen was there for the put-back when they missed, helping the Aussies to a 4-0 run and while Andorra momentarily stopped the run, a Rocci two-pointer quickly extended their margin to 8-2.

A knock to the head sent Bowen to the bench as she cleaned up a bloody nose but Brancatisano made an impact instantly, recording a block as she came off the bench. Their stifling defence frustrated Andorra and Australia extended their margin to 11-2.

Patricia Vicente caught fire with back-to-back shots for Andorra but Brancatisano quieted any hope of a comeback with another two-pointer, helping Australia secure a 14-9 victory.

IMG_9329 (002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two hours later, Australia hit the court again to face Argentina with Bowen, Screen and Brancatisano starting.

Both teams had won their opening clash but it was Australia who started well as Screen hit a pull up within the opening ten seconds, Bowen hit a tournaround jumper and then Screen stepped out for a mid-ranger.

Argentina answered with a long-range shot of their own, tying the game at 4-4 and while Australia were unable to connect on two-pointers themselves, they continually chased down the offensive boards to keep their possessions alive.

Bowen finally broke a run of misses with a simple put-back before coming up with a steal and finding Rocci from distance.

Natacha Perez responded for Argentina though, giving them a 10-8 lead with four minutes to go. She threatened to put the game beyond doubt with a two-pointer but Bowen had the instant reply and with 2:30 remaining, Australia moved ahead again.

Marcarena Durso then tied it up for Argentina and in a frantic final minute, both teams failed to score with Bowen missing a buzzer-beater.

This sent the game into overtime, with the first team to score two declared the winner. Both countries missed long-range attempts early but Argentina were able to convert from the charity stripe, forcing Rocci into a foul to seal the 18-16 victory.

Australia's final two games of the pool group will be played at 9.50pm AEST and 11.40pm AEST Thursday night against Macau and Hungary respectively.

The standings can be found here with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the finals on Saturday night.