OPALS OFF TO WINNING START AT FIBA ASIA WOMEN'S CUP

OPALS OFF TO WINNING START AT FIBA ASIA WOMEN'S CUP

The Australian Opals have had a strong start to their first foray in the FIBA Asia Women's Cup, defeating Korea 78-54 in the opening game of the group stage.

Australia was able to rotate through their entire squad, giving every player minutes while everyone bar captain Laura Hodges hit the scoreboard.

The Opals were efficient offensively from the opening tip with Belinda Snell (11 points, seven rebounds) proving dangerous from deep while Alanna Smith (13 points, seven boards) was also very impressive in her debut game for the national team as she showed no signs of nerves.

Korea were able to penetrate through the Aussie defence at the other end of the floor though and took a lead going into the first break.

From there, the Opals were kicked into gear and their team defence was superb in the second period, fully taking control of the contest by holding their opposition to just three points for the quarter.

Maddie Garrick (ten points on 4-5 shooting) kept Australia's tally ticking over while Kelsey Griffin (a game-high 15 points) was too dominant in the front court, giving her side a 15-point edge at the main break.

With a healthy buffer, the Opals looked to keep their running game going in the second half.

While Korea's full court press did give the Aussies some concerns as their bench received some good minutes, the deficit proved too great for Korea to overcome and the Opals eventually prevailed by 24 points.

Check out all the stats here.

Shooting 42% from the field as a team, the Opals recorded 17 assists on 27 field goals, compared to Korea's five assists while Sara Blicavs (six points, five boards) and Marianna Tolo (five points) also helped them to a 12-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.

Alongside Smith and Griffin, Lauren Mansfield (six points, five assists, two steals) also completed an impressive debut.

Keep an eye out for a replay here as FIBA plans to upload all matches to their YouTube channel 24 hours after games are completed.

The Opals will be back on court against the Philippines tomorrow from 3.30pm AEST as they look to consolidate their strong start to the tournament.

The Australian Opals FIBA Women's Asia Cup Schedule (all times AEST):

July 24: Australia vs. Philippines at 3.30pm
July 25: Australia vs. Japan at 5.45pm
July 27: Quarter-Finals
July 28: Semi-Finals
July 29: Bronze and Gold medal games