Australia have completed the pool stage of the 3×3 World Cup but fallen just short of a Quarter-Final berth after a defeat of Japan was followed by an overtime loss to the Netherlands.
Australia v Japan
Against a smaller Japanese team, Amelia Todhunter got Australia started with a put-back off a Rebecca Cole miss and Todhunter then grabbed a steal off the ensuing pass before feeding Cole for two easy lay-ups.
Their defence held strong throughout the opening minutes, restricting their opponents to just one point inside the first 3:30 but following a time-out, Japan were able to find their way to the rim and make it a 4-3 game.
That would be the closest Japan would get though as Australia responded with a nine-point run including a deep two-pointer from Cole while Payne and Mijovic began to dominate on the glass and give their team some important second chance opportunities.
Japan reached their foul limit with two minutes remaining, giving the Aussies a couple of easy points from the free-throw line as they ran out 18-8 victors.
Australia v Netherlands
Back on the court less than three hours later, Australia needed a victory over the pool leaders and third ranked team in the world, the Netherlands, to advance to the Quarter-Finals.
It was a physical encounter from the start but in an almost carbon copy of their first game, the Aussies opened with brilliant defensive acts from Todhunter who forced three turnovers inside the first 40 seconds.
Cole then drove to the hoop and finished with contact, helping Australia to a 5-0 start as Mijovic also hustled for a basket.
Netherlands finally hit the scoreboard after 3:20 which triggered three straight points before Mijovic halted the run with a two-pointer.
A two-pointer from the Netherlands tied the game but their physical play put them into foul trouble which Cole was able to take advantage of, giving the Aussies a 10-8 lead.
Netherlands began to find their range though and a big two-pointer inside the final minute gave them their first lead of the contest which they extended to two on the next possession.
Todhunter came up big with a two-pointer of her own though, forcing the game into overtime as neither side was able to answer in the last ten seconds.
Per FIBA 3×3 rules, the first team to score two points in the extra period wins and off a defensive rebound, Karin Kuijt found herself wide open for a long-range bomb to knock Australia out in devastating fashion.
Catch up on both contests from Day 3 of the FIBA 3×3 World Cup below. Unfortunately signal interruptions and audio problems affect both contests but you can watch Australia v Japan at 4:30:00 while the Australia v Netherlands game be found at the 7:22:00 time stamp.
For the second year in a row, the Australian women’s 3×3 World Cup campaign has ended in heartbreaking fashion, falling just short of a finals berth.
Following news of the sport’s inclusion into the 2020 Olympics though, expect to see more tournaments and involvement from the men’s and women’s teams as they gear up for more medal opportunities in the future.