Opals thrash China in World Challenge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Opals thrash China in World Challenge

11/04/2006 10:44:56 PM Comments (0)

Australia's women basketballers set up a mouth-watering clash with the USA after thrashing China 79-58 in the Opals World Challenge at AIS Arena on Tuesday.

With memories still fresh of last week's 20-point loss to the Americans, the Opals sounded their intentions with a clinical dismantling of one of the world's top teams.

Australia rode on the back of the talents of super star Lauren Jackson, who punished every defensive option China attempted to throw at her, finishing with a game high 28 points.

When conventional defence wouldn't work, the Chinese opted to foul Jackson and she punished them from the free throw line.

The second quarter told the entire story of China's futility, with Jackson making just two shots from the field, but nine from the free throw line on her way to 14 points.

She started the fourth quarter, but after two straight baskets and less than two minutes played, coach Jan Stirling decided Jackson had done enough and her focus could switch to the USA clash.

"I guess everyone is waiting for tomorrow because its always been part of our process for the world championships," Stirling said.

"The challenge for us against the USA is to do better than we did last time, and certainly come away with a win.

"I think we'll be a better team tomorrow night than we were tonight, because we will need to be."

The Opals were challenged for much of the first quarter and led by just two with a minute left on the clock.

That slender margin was changed within a blink of an eye by bench guard Erin Phillip who scored five quick-fire points in the final 60 seconds to give Australia a 22-15 advantage at quarter time.

The Opals effectively won the game in an astonishing second quarter that featured a mind numbing 20 fouls.

Australia made China pay for their persistent fouling, scoring 14 from the charity stripe to surge to an insurmountable 47-28 halftime lead.

China was again heavily outscored in the third quarter, 22-13, and the lead had blown out to 69-41 by three quarter time.

With extra court time, Hollie Grima provided stellar support to Jackson, finishing with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Miao Lijie topped the scoring for China with 16.

In the earlier game, USA forward Tina Thompson was unstoppable on her way to 28 points, leading the Americans to a 91-66 victory over Chinese Taipei.

Thompson played just 18 minutes, scoring 24 points by halftime, as the USA survived an early scare against the international basketball minnow.

Chinese Taipei raced out to a shock first quarter lead on the back of their three-point shooting, but once the Americans adjusted their defence, their juggernaut rolled right over the opposition.

Five straight points from Canberra crowd favourite Alanna Beard turned the USA around, and the deficit quickly became a half time lead of 54-38.

Candace Parker was just shaded by Thompson for the Americans, finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and three steals, while Chin-Yi Liu was the standout for Chinese Taipei, hitting 23 points.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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