The Australian women have put together an exceptional defensive performance to defeat Russia 19-13 in the Quarter-Finals of the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup.
Russia came into the contest as last year’s silver medalists as well as the 2017 Champions but Australia proved they were ready for the fight from the opening tip.
Bec Cole dropped her defender to the ground with a crossover on the first possession of the game before Alice Kunek drained a two for a quick 3-0 lead.
Russia got things on level pegging after that and then both teams tightened up their defences with the score still tied at 3-3 after three minutes.
Connecting on three straight points for the Aussies, Cole put her side up 7-5 at the midway point and Australia’s defence remained steadfast with Keely Froling’s work in the paint proving crucial.
They finally got some separation courtesy of Kunek and Maddie Garrick who was able to bamboozle her defender with another sweet crossover.
That gave Australia a 12-7 lead inside the last two minutes and while Russia mounted one last charge with a two-pointer, Garrick responded instantly with a two of her own to help clinch a 19-12 victory.
“We knew it was going to be physical,” said Garrick, post-game.
“Russia are always a great team but I think the loss yesterday to France was a good thing for us. It reminded us that we would have to fight to stay in the competition.”
Australia will now prepare for the final day of competition, with a Semi-Final against China at 10.10pm AEST on Sunday night before the bronze medal game is played at 1.40am AEST and the gold medal game at 2.50am AEST early Monday morning.
“This a dream come true,” said Garrick.
“Our sights were set to finish top three and we are going to do everything we can to achieve that.”
Australia’s schedule at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 World Cup (all times AEST):
June 19: Australian men def. Brazil 21-15
June 19: Australian men def. by Poland 14-16
June 20: Australian women def. Andorra 22-9
June 20: Australian women def. Switzerland 20-14
June 21: Australian men def. by Latvia 16-20
June 21: Australian men def. Japan 22-12
June 22: Australian women def. Japan 18-16 in OT
June 22: Australian women def. by France 16-17
June 23: Quarter-Final- Australian women def. Russia 19-12
June 23: Semi-Final- Australian women vs. China at 10.10pm
June 24: Australian women bronze medal at 1.40am, gold medal at 2.50am