OPALS 2018 GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES GOLDEN GIRLS

OPALS 2018 GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES GOLDEN GIRLS

The Australian Opals have completed a dominant tournament at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, beating England 99-55 to earn the gold medal and replicate their success from twelve years ago.

Winning 19 out of 20 quarters across five games, the Opals had every player hit the scoreboard for the fifth consecutive game in the final while they shot 54% from the field in another clinical performance.

Nine members of the team tallied an assist, combining for 29 overall while their defence was just as impressive, holding England to 26% shooting and seven players also recorded at least one block.

The final siren was bittersweet for the team though as it brought an end to the international career of Belinda Snell who announced her retirement before the game.

Playing in her 159th contest as an Opal, Snell retires as a three-time Olympic medalist, a FIBA World Championship gold medalist from 2006 and a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist.

The Opals had to deal with adversity in the gold medal game with Liz Cambage (ten points on 5-5 shooting) sensationally ejected following an unsportsmanlike foul and technical foul in the second quarter.

Australia owned a double-digit lead at that stage but Jenna O'Hea (three points, four assists, two blocks) was required to provide a calming influence while Katie Ebzery (six points, seven assists) also came up with a couple of important plays to steady the ship.

Kelsey Griffin (16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals) took over the reins in the front court as the Opals continued to extend their margin while Cayla George (16 points, ten boards) and Ezi Magbegor (11 points, five rebounds, three blocks) once again shone on the international stage.

Snell (nine points, three blocks) then knocked in back-to-back three's as the Aussies doubled up England on the scoreboard and then out of half-time, they truly put the game to bed with a 7-0 run, capped by a Steph Talbot triple.

Alice Kunek (five points, six rebounds) and Nicole Seekamp (two points, three assists) got on the board in the final term to complete the feat of every player scoring and the team was able to soak up the atmosphere of another dominant performance, finishing the Games with an average winning margin of 55 points.

"I am extremely proud," said coach Sandy Brondello in her first gold medal victory with the Opals.

"We had to face a bit of adversity today but it just shows the character of the team. We maintained our composure through the leadership of Katie Ebzery and Jenna who make sure the team play with poise while I thought Cayla and Kelsey were fantastic inside."

Find the box score here.

The Opals' attention now turns to the FIBA Women's World Cup in September as 16 teams battle for the trophy in Spain. The draw for that tournament can be found here.

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